With the arrival of winter chill, Indiana residents’ thoughts turn to pool-side vacations in warm climates. But people living in Indiana should think twice before diving into the deep-end or dipping your toes into the wading pool. Tens of thousands of swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas are at risk for being closed because of a deadly hidden danger: Pool Filter Systems.
The filter systems in question have flat grates that can trap swimmers with their powerful suction, resulting in evisceration and even death. One prominent example of this tragedy was the death of the 7-year-old grandchild of James A. Baker, former Secretary of State. She was trapped in a spa drain and drowned in 2002.
While tragic, her unfortunate death is not an isolated event. The not-for-profit group, Safe Kids Worldwide reports on average, one person dies each year because they are unable to escape the powerful suction of the pool’s filter system.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act signed by President Bush on December 19, 2007, requires “anti-entrapment” filter covers and a secondary safety system installed on all public pools and spas. These filter covers are dome-shaped rather than flat, allowing water to flow around objects caught in the filter. The deadline for compliance was December 19, 2008. Any pool that had yet to comply by this date is subject to closure.
As with any mandated change, there is a cost. The estimated expense of replacing the filter systems is as high as $15,000 per pool, making it difficult for hotels, public pools, homeowners’ associations and local municipalities to cover the price tag. But the high cost of the repair does not release the agencies from responsibility to comply.
Personal injury or wrongful death of a loved one is always a heartbreaking event. If the death is as a result of a preventable danger, the loss is even more tragic.
When traveling out of state or staying in Indiana, your hotel of choice is often determined by the amenities offered. This usually includes an indoor pool or spa. Do not hesitate to ask the manager if their system is compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.