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Pool & Spa Safety Options Increased

On Friday, June 24, 2011 Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Florida HB 849 into law with an effective date of July 1, 2011.  Paul Pennington, president of the Pool Safety Council, says, "We welcome this measure that will promote pool safety in Florida and give older pools and spas more economical compliance options."  This brings Florida law into line with Federal safety requirements for pools and spas with a single suction drain, which can present an underwater entrapment or evisceration hazard. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires all public pools be in compliance with the Federal law by December 2008.
In Florida, all newer public pools and spas have been constructed with gravity-only drains. Florida was also requiring older pools and spas (pre-1993) to come into compliance over a period of years through retrofitting to a gravity drain system, with costs running in the $10,000 to $60,000 range.  These older facilities will now be able to choose from several anti-entrapment options, including safety vacuum release systems, suction limiting vent systems, gravity drainage, automatic pump shut-off, and disabling the drain.  These must be installed by a licensed pool and spa contractor, and are in addition to safety drain covers as a secondary line of defense.  "By having choices, they're saving tens of thousands of dollars for each pool," Pennington states.
The Federal government has required a secondary anti-entrapment system in addition to approved safety drain covers since 2008, with the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.  The bill was passed following the drowning death of seven-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker, granddaughter of Secretary of State James Baker, despite the presence of a drain cover and the efforts of those nearby to free her.  The Pool Safety Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting pool safety and the prevention of child drowning.

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