CONCORD — Police Chief Joseph O’Connor and Fire Chief Tom Judge would like to remind Concord residents to take the proper precautions and adhere to state regulations regarding swimming pools this summer.
The American Red Cross reports that more than 200 children drown in swimming pools each year. Additionally, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How to Recognize When a Swimmer is in Distress
Many water emergencies can happen quickly and quietly, so knowing how to recognize when a person in the water is in distress is critical.
According to the American Red Cross, a swimmer in distress may still try to swim but make little or no forward progress. Additionally, a drowning victim may be vertical but unable to move forward or tread water. They may try to press down with their arms in an attempt to keep their head above water. A passive drowning victim would be motionless and floating face down on the bottom or near the surface of the water.
Know How to Respond
- If a person is missing, check the water first.
- Reach with your arm or a pole, or throw a life ring or buoy, don’t enter the water yourself. Remember: Reach or throw, don’t go.
- Call 911
Residents with pools should ensure they have the right equipment on hand, including reaching poles and buoys, or even an empty water jug tied to a rope or broom.
The Concord Police and Fire Departments consider pool safety to be a top priority, and reminds residents to follow these safety regulations and recommended precautions:
- Per Massachusetts regulation, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.
For a complete listing of Massachusetts building code regulations regarding swimming pools, click here.