A woman practicing pool safety while floating on a raft.A refreshing summer activity, swimming pools offers a way to keep cool. However, we must be aware of the potential risks that come with a swimming pool. As a board member overseeing your community's operations, it’s important to stay up to date on pool safety practices. Here are 6 swimming pool safety tips to ensure your community stays safe this summer.

Tip #1. Establish the rules and communicate them to residents

Set expectations by establishing and sharing swimming pool safety guidelines. Pool rules should be easily understood and prominently displayed for all residents and guests.

Here are a few examples of common rules for community pools:

  • No running in the pool area 

When running on wet and slippery surfaces, you are more likely to slip, fall, and suffer injuries like cuts, bruises, or even more severe accidents like head trauma. You can reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents in the pool area by enforcing a "no running" rule.

  • Swimming alone is prohibited

There are significant risks associated with swimming alone. While swimming alone, no one can help or alert others if trouble arises (for example, if you experience muscle cramps or any other physical distress). These types of medical incidents can quickly escalate. The "no swimming alone" rule ensures someone will be around should unforeseen circumstances arise.

  • Swimming not permitted during inclement weather

The pool can become dangerous if the weather is stormy while you’re swimming. Reduced visibility and lightning strikes increase the risk of accidents and injury. It’s essential to prioritize safety and avoid swimming during adverse weather conditions.

  • No diving

Pools with a “no diving” rule often have shallow water depths that might not be safe for diving. Diving into shallow water can cause serious injuries. To ensure the safety of all residents, it's critical that this rule is enforced and that individuals only enter the pool safely and responsibly.

  • Horseplay is not allowed

It is essential to maintain a safe and controlled environment around pools. Engaging in horseplay, such as pushing or shoving, can cause injuries if someone slips and fall. Maintaining a strict "no horseplay" policy allows everyone in and around the pool the opportunity to enjoy a secure setting, reducing accident risk and promoting responsible behavior.

“Posting pool rules in an around the pool area is a good first step,” said Danny Ellis, president at FirstService Residential. “Remember that reinforcing the importance of adhering to them through consistent and effective enforcement measures is also key.”

Are you looking for tips on creating policies? Read: Association Policy 101: How to Make Rules without Making Enemies

Tip #2. Make sure you know the laws and regulations in your area

Maintaining compliance with state and local regulations regarding community swimming pools is essential to ensure compliance with state and local laws. In Georgia, swimming pool regulations vary according to municipality and county. Your association may also require additional pool rules specific to your condo or community. Work with your association's attorney and property management company to ensure you are up to date and compliant with these rules and local laws.

Tip #3. Budget accordingly to properly maintain your pool 

Proper maintenance of your swimming pool is essential for resident and guest safety, longevity and aesthetics. Typical pool maintenance includes inspecting water quality for algae, checking for bacteria, monitoring water levels, and inspecting and repairing pool equipment such as diving boards, ladders and drains. Setting aside a budget for swimming pool maintenance is essential to cover expenses such as chlorine, test kits, reagents, draining, and equipment cleaning. It’s also a good idea to budget for unplanned maintenance expenses in the event of a malfunction or breakdown.

“Investing time and attention into maintaining your pool will keep it looking nice, help you avoid costly repairs, and keep your residents and guests safe,” said Christopher Pappas, senior vice president at FirstService Residential. 

Preventing hazardous incidents begins with regular maintenance, and following a regular maintenance routine will help create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone. 

Tip #4. Encourage your residents to learn how to swim

According to the American Red Cross, 54% of all Americans either can’t swim or lack basic water survival skills. Being near a pool can be dangerous for someone who can't swim. By promoting swimming skills, your board can encourage residents to become better equipped to handle themselves in and around bodies of water to prevent drowning. Furthermore, residents are more likely to use the pool if they feel confident about their swimming abilities. You should consider hosting swimming and water safety classes in your community’s pool to keep your residents safe, build community among neighbors and foster social interaction. A vibrant pool area can foster a more connected and enjoyable living environment, providing a focal point for community activities and gatherings.

Prior to hosting these classes, check with your association attorney about potential liability issues and with your insurance agent about proper coverage.

Want to turn unengaged residents into active participants? Download 6 Steps to Boost Participation Among Residents

Tip #5. Encourage or offer CPR   

Basic first aid and CPR training can save lives in drowning emergencies. Your local Red Cross and city or county emergency management officials may be able to schedule and facilitate training for your community. Consult your property management company for guidance.  

Tip #6. Watch small children closely

Young children are at significant risk of drowning, which is usually deceptively quiet. The waving, splashing and yelling we typically see in movies rarely happens in real life. It is essential for adults to closely supervise children around pools to prevent accidents, respond quickly to emergencies, and provide timely assistance if needed. A momentary distraction can lead to a tragic outcome, so constant vigilance is vital.

As a board member, you want your residents to enjoy the amenities that drew them to your community. Understanding the importance of establishing rules to keep your pool safe will help you accomplish this. Providing residents with the proper safety guidelines will help make your pool a cool haven of fun and relaxation for your residents all summer long.

Contact FirstService Residential for guidance on improving pool safety in your community.

Monday August 21, 2023