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Stay Safe by the Pool This Summer

By Stephanie Munson, SPEC Intern

Summertime is the perfect time of year to get outside and have fun. One of the most popular activities to do this time of year is go swimming. It relieves the heat on a hot summer day and is a relaxing way to spend a few hours of your afternoon.

Swimming can become dangerous, however, if electricity gets involved. Underwater lights, electric pool equipment, extension cords, radios, and other electrical equipment are commonly found at a summertime pool party, and if they malfunction or come into contact with the pool water, it can electrify the water and even turn deadly.

We’ve compiled some information on what to do if water becomes electrified so you and your family can remain safe and have fun during these summer months.

How do I know if I or someone else may be receiving a shock?

You might experience:

  • A tingling sensation throughout your body
  • Muscle cramps
  • Inability to move
  • The feeling that something is keeping you where you are

There will be several signs that others are experiencing a shock:

  • People panicking or unsettled
  • People swimming away from a particular area or an unresponsive person
  • One or more unresponsive or motionless swimmers
  • Underwater lights not working properly
  • Pool operator, homeowner, lifeguard received previous complaints of tingling
     

What should I do if I think I’m being shocked?

  • Move away from the source of the shock
  • Get out of the water
  • Avoid using a metal ladder

 

What should I do if I think someone else is experiencing an electrical shock?

Before attempting any rescues, make sure that the power is off. If the power is not shut off, the person who is attempting to make the rescue might become a victim. Then, have someone call 9-1-1.

The American Red Cross has some recommendations for this rescue:

  • Use a fiberglass rescue hook to extend your reach to the victim
  • Brace yourself on the pool deck and then extend your reach towards the victim so they can grab it
  • If they are unresponsive and cannot grab it, use the loop to encircle the victim and pull them, face up, to the edge.
  • Remove them from the water

At this point, the victim may be okay and will simply have to wait for medical professionals to look them over. However, it is highly likely that the victim is unresponsive or is not breathing normally.

If this is the case, follow these steps:

  • Place the person flat on their back on a firm surface, and kneel beside them
  • If you are trained in CPR, begin performing cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 ventilations
  • If you are NOT trained in CPR, perform Hands-Only CPR
  • Continue CPR until:
    • You notice an obvious sign of life
    • An AED is available and ready to use
    • You have performed about 2 minutes of CPR, and another trained person is able to take over
    • EMS has arrived and they are able to take over
    • The scene becomes unsafe
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