Beware Swimming Pool Shock Attacks

Swimming pool CBS/AP

With Memorial Day approaching, federal safety officials warned Tuesday of hidden hazards that lurk near a summertime hot spot — the swimming pool.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission urged people to be aware of the risk of electrocution at backyard, community and public pools. The alert also applies to hot tubs and spas.

According to CPSC, electrical hazards in and around swimming pools have resulted in 60 deaths and nearly 50 serious shocks in the past 13 years.

Among the greatest concerns: faulty underwater lighting, aging electrical wiring, and sump pumps and vacuums that are not grounded. Radios, TVs and dangling extension cords also pose a danger.

CPSC joined with the American Red Cross to kick off the "Don't Swim With Shocks" campaign.

CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton advised consumers that the "best protection for families is inspection, detection and correction."

One step they can take is to make sure lighting, circuits and other possible hazards are protected by Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter outlets, or GFCIs. These safety devices monitor a circuit's electrical flow, and if any problems are detected they automatically shut off power to that circuit.

CPSC asked pool owners to familiarize themselves with all the electrical switches and circuit breakers for pool equipment and lights, and to know how to turn off those switches in an emergency. Other tips included using battery-operated appliances instead of cord-connected equipment.

In the event of shock or electrocution, the Red Cross recommends turning off all power and using a fiberglass hook — a nonconductive device — to rescue the victim.
  • Lauren Johnston

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