The Miami-Dade Commission unanimously voted earlier this month to require low-voltage lighting in all new residential pools. Previously, commercial pools were the only pools in the county required to carry low-voltage lighting.
CBS4 in Miami had conducted an investigation into shocking incidents in pools earlier this year and found the difference in the commercial and residential regulations. The investigation started this last April when Calder Sloan, a 7-year-old boy, was electrocuted as he swam in his pool. Days later, across town, surveillance cameras captured the chaos at the Palms West apartments in Hialeah. Three children were pulled from their pool when a pump sent an electrical charge into the water, according to CBS4.
Chris Sloan, Calder's father, addressed commissioners before the vote and proposed five solutions including:
A) Inspections of private pools must be mandatory and not just new construction. Existing pools need this oversight and assurance as well. When electrical changes are made to a pool such as new lighting systems, replacement pool pumps or waterfalls, these changes must be permitted and inspected as would any major electrical work. Local governments can waive permitting and inspection costs as an incentive to home owners.
B) Even if there is no work being done, homeowners should be educated and given incentives to have their existing pools inspected. This should not just happen at the time of a home purchase or new build but at periodic intervals. Insurance companies can incentivize homeowners with discounts on their homeowners insurance. Local or state governments can incentivize with a one-time discount in property tax.
C) Pool equipment manufacturers and builders should take a leadership role in educating their customers about these dangers through word of mouth, pr campaigns, viral marketing, and advertising.
D) An entire house not being grounded is even more insidious and exposed with often fatal results. Again, insurance companies and local or state governments can incentivize homeowners to have a home electrical inspection done or make it mandatory on a yearly basis, much as vehicle inspections used to be mandated on automobiles. Further, FP&L could be tasked with checking once a year that the grounding rods are installed on a home during one of its meter readings and then after warning home owners that these need to be repaired, enforce the warning by remove the meter or shut down the power until the grounds are installed.
E) Finally, inspectors, contractors such as plumbers and electricians, and pool maintenance companies themselves need to be held more accountable. They need to carry proper amounts of insurance and oversight. Inspectors who don’t properly inspect the work as in our case are not doing their jobs and putting lives at risk. Pool companies who maintain pools every week and don’t warn customers about potential signs such as corroding pool lights aren’t doing their jobs either.wants inspections, awareness campaigns, and new standards to save lives.
Maybe other city, county and maybe state governments will consider his proposals to prevent further accidents and deaths.