Water Hazard: Pools without anti-entrapment drain covers - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Water Hazard: Pools without anti-entrapment drain covers can be deadly

By Rob Wiercinski - bio | email | Facebook

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The next time you jump into a pool, their could be a danger lurking at the bottom if the pool does not have a newer, anti-entrapment drain cover.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB), which went into effect in Dec. 2008 following the death of the 9-year-old in a spa entrapment, aims to prevent accidental drownings and make it safer for kids to have fun in a swimming pool.

The law requires public pools and spas to be equipped with anti-entrapment drain covers.

Toledo Recreation Manager Sherrie Shipman says the City of Toledo is covered.

"Our facilities operations either ordered them that would fit or prefabricated them to fit so all of our pools that are open have those covers on," said Shipman.

However, parents who were unaware of the law say they are glad the new safe-guards are in place.

"I'll bring them more often now since everything's up to code. I have peace of mind. I can sit here talk to you not even worry about them that's what I enjoy," said Jason Brandon.

Lisa Pelton says she had no idea that pool drains were even something to be concerned about.

The law does address residential pools. In fact, new pools under construction the new drain covers -- and also a dual-drain system.

"Before the VGB Act, there wasn't any rules how far apart you need to space those drains from each other, it's of course 3 feet. 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago those pools were sometimes a foot-and-a-half apart, 2-feet apart because there was nothing saying well, that's a good or a bad thing," said Dreamscapes Pool and Spa Design's Remy Genot.

Watch out for these types of drain covers that could be at the bottom of your pool. They are  out-of-date and should be replaced.

Hawaiian Pools' Kenyon Ward says if he is doing a renovation, his company is obligated to remove the old cover and replace it with a VGB approved cover.

Ward says about 90 percent of people he encounters are surprised that they did not know the VBG Act went into effect.

Judy McManus' says safety is a top priority at her family's pool.

"We cover our pool at night, just to make sure keep people out at night, kids in the neighborhood... The fence had to go in for insurance purposes and safety," said McManus.

However, when pool officials checked her pool's drain cover, they found one which isn't VGB  approved.

"I'm definitely going to get it replaced. We want to adhere to safety laws," said McManus.

However, one criticism of the new law is the lack of a public awareness campaign.

Ward says just making folks aware of the new covers and showing them their value has been very significant for his business.

"You should pay the $50 or $75 to have a certified pool company who has went through the VGB course, they understand what to look for," said Genot.

And replacing the drain cover for a residential pool will cost anywhere between $50 and $250.

If you are unceratin if your backyard pool meets the new standards, contact a licensed pool contractor and ask about the law.

Copyright 2010 WTOL. All rights reserved.

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