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100-101 WORLD NEWS:SPN Master pages 15/1/09 17:02 Page 3
US pools race to beat cut off
date for new suction laws Blow up pool needs a
Swimming pool administrators throughout the United States faced quality fence!
Toronto City claims that every a race against the clock to gauge how to bring their facilities in line A family In Australia has been told
one of its swimming pools with new regulations that required specific safety drain covers to they have to spend potentially
needs repairs, upgrades and be in place by 20 December. thousands of dollars building a
urgent attention. Pools that are not compliant with the Abigail Taylor Pool Safety fence for a $80 blow-up pool.
The plea to do something Act by that date are expected to shut themselves down, according Sunshine Coast Regional
about the poor quality to the regulation. Council on Australia’s West Coast
pools comes as part of a The proposal is named for the six-year-old girl who suffered an said blow-up pools had to be
campaign to point out that ultimately fatal injury after sitting on a drain at a country club wading fenced properly.
the Canadian city is in pool. Its powerful suction ripped out part of her intestinal tract. While Jody and Jason Gibbins
decline, parts of its The US Legislature passed the bill unanimously. accept the council’s stance on the
infrastructure are literally The bill requires daily physical inspections of drain covers and matter, the couple feel they have
falling apart, and there is no grates in all but residential pools. And beginning with the most been unlucky enough to be
coherent plan to address shallow pools, it calls for mandatory drainage systems designed to singled out.
this problem. prevent suction from blockage. “We know all pools have to be
Some statistics, say Operators of pools that lack redundant suction outlets will have fenced but how many of these
campaigners, put the to put them in. pools have been sold – and why
situation into perspective. The new safety standards apply to pools at sports clubs, health are they picking on us? The
The most completing one clubs, parks, apartment buildings and hotels. Gibbins were told the three-
apart from the problems with Pool owners were told there was no flexibility with the laws and metre-long pool had to be
roads is that the swimming the deadline was not negotiable. drained within 24 hours.
pools throughout the city are Sporting organisations said that it could mean closure of They bought a $900 fence for
suffering from what is called hundreds of pools throughout the United States. the pool, but after learning they
‘terminal decline’. Many schools and leisure centres were planning to shut down would have to pay $400 for a
“There is no better after 19 December. fence application fee and $130
indication of the stature of “In just reading the regulation, there’s a lot to it,” one leisure for the council’s site inspection
our facilities than our centre complex owner said. once the fence was installed, the
swimming pools,” said one “We need to get the pool companies in because they are the plan was scrapped.
city campaigner. ones who know a lot more about it.”
“Hardly any money has The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is
been spent on the upkeep administered by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Annual inspections
development and general and it specifies that all drains sold after the deadline must meet the needed says coroner
standards of our swimming new specifications. The regulation mandates that all public pools A coroner in New South Wales,
pools that they are a with a single main drain, other than an unblockable drain, have Australia has called for a system of
disgrace and something additional systems designed to prevent suction entrapment. annual swimming pool inspections,
must be done to find the The regulation applies to any and all public pools. similar to annual car inspections for
money to get these Said one New York pool manager; “We are looking for some insurance, to increase pool fencing
important sporting facilities flexibility here. We have 20 pools and the pool companies just can’t safety standards compliance and
back to somewhere near an cope with all the work. We will be pushing for some leniency reduce child drownings.
adequate state.“ otherwise it’s shut down time.“ The proposal calls for pool
owners to pay for inspections by
private contractors and complete
works to meet Australian pool
safety standards before receiving
their annual insurance.
“The best thing about home “midwife’s epidural”. The encounter germs to which they Local councils would be
birth is getting to have it your portable hot tubs are deep have never been exposed. notified if owners failed to carry
own way,” says local midwife enough and wide enough for a out requested work.
Lucy Ferguson who now has a woman and her husband to sit The coroners have suggested a
booming business renting out in and move around. Water is 12-month start-up period where
hot tubs for water births. pumped through a filter and pool owners could voluntarily
The option is proving a huge kept at an even and warm organise their first inspections
success from her Arkansas temperature to help the and insurance, giving local
home. “A mother is free to eat mother relax. councils time to establish
and drink and move around as “The birth tubs are very registers of backyard pools based
she feels comfortable doing popular. Many moms say (the on prior approvals.
while she’s in labour. A mother is birth tub) cuts pain by 50 - A mandatory annual inspection
also free to choose what 70%,” Ferguson said. programme involving all pool
position she’s in while she Techniques such as owners would follow.
delivers her baby. Throughout relaxation, emotional support The proposal includes the
labour and delivery, she can and massage also make the pain possibility of heavy fines in cases
receive one-on-one care from more tolerable. of proven pool safety failures,
someone with whom she’s Home births also offer less although a spokesman for the
already built a trusting risk of infection, Ferguson NSW Coroner’s office conceded
relationship – no nurses said, because mother and the difficulty of imposing fines
changing shifts or doctors baby are already immune to where failures led to child
coming in at the last minute. the germs in their home, but drownings.
Lucy calls the tubs the at a hospital, they may
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