Education, supervision, diligence key to pool safety

Alpine Shire Council is reminding residents of the three most important principles, education, supervision and diligence, when it comes to pool safety.

Check the information below to see if your pool meets Australian standards.

What is a swimming pool?

Any excavation or structure containing water to a depth greater than 30cm and used primarily for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa.

This definition can vary but in Victoria it includes in-ground pools, indoor swimming pools, above ground swimming pools, inflatable or portable pools and spas and jacuzzis. Spas in bathrooms are exempt.

Why do we need pool fencing?

Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five in Victoria.

Pool enclosures constructed in accordance with the regulations reduce the risk of pool drowning to less than 25% of the risk associated with an unfenced of incorrectly fenced pool.

The fact that drowning still occurs in correctly fenced pools highlights the importance of parental supervision of young children in pools.

Young children should never be left unattended inside a pool enclosure and gates should never be propped open allowing access to the pool, remember that correctly installed pool fencing only prevents young children from accessing the pool.

What fencing do I need?

Most changes or revisions to Legislation are not applied retrospectively and the Swimming Pool Standards are no exception. This often presents people with confusing scenarios as they are required to establish what version of the legislation is applicable.
Basically it is broken up into three periods;

  • Swimming Pools constructed before the 8th April 1991
  • Swimming Pools constructed after the 8th April but before the 1st May 2010
  • Swimming Pools constructed on or after 1st May 2010

The technical requirements of this legislation is quite extensive and detailed and can not be explained in a single article but very useful information can be obtained from the Alpine Shire or the Building Commission web sites, or alternatively, a visit to the Alpine Shire offices in Bright.

It is highly recommended that all pool owners, especially those not familiar with pool safety requirements, access this information and ensure that their pool complies.

A Useful Check List

  • All pool fencing must be non-climbable and in a good state of repair.
  • Self closing and self latching devices must operate effectively, never prop open an entrance.
  • There should be no articles left near pool fences or gates that children can climb, even a small child is capable of dragging a plastic chair.
  • Landscaping works such as trees, moss rocks and retaining walls can present children with an opportunity to scale a barrier.
  • Doors from the house or shed that give access to the enclosure should be closed and locked. Under no circumstances should the lock be disabled, or the door removed.
  • Windows that open into the pool enclosure are often overlooked. These windows are often located in room that are not always visible to an adult or older child, meaning that young children can attempt access when not observed.

The most important thing to remember with swimming pool barriers is that young children can be very imaginative and resourceful and are naturally attracted to water, especially if they have been in a pool before and recognise it as a fun activity.

More information

www.alpineshire.vic.gov.au/poolsafety
www.homepoolsafety.com.au
www.buildingcommission.com.au

Building Commission: 1300 815 127.
Alpine Shire Council: (03) 5755 0555.


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