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Is your pool safe?

Kids standing at pool fence.

Council is calling for pool and spa owners to check the security of safety fences.

Monday 18 November 2019

Do you have a secure fence around your backyard pool or spa?

More children drown in backyard swimming pools than any other location. Having a secure fence that complies with safety regulations is essential to reduce the risk of a tragedy occurring in your backyard.

“Nineteen children under five years drowned in private swimming pools and spas in Australia in 2018/2019,” said Jeffry Amy, Coordinator Community Safety and Amenity, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that no one wants to experience,” said Mr Amy.

“It’s vital that people with a backyard pool or spa know their responsibilities and how they can keep kids safe,” said Mr Amy.

All swimming pools and spas with water deeper than 30cm must have a compliant safety barrier to restrict access to the pool area. The barrier must be at least 1.2 metres high.

This includes in-ground and above-ground pools and spas, including inflatable pools and deeper wading pools.

“Regularly check fencing to make sure it prevents access and ensure all gates self-latch and aren’t obstructed from closing,” said Mr Amy.

“Keep large pots and chairs away from pool fences so children can’t climb up and over,” he said.

Children drown quickly and quietly. Parents and carers are encouraged to maintain constant supervision of their children around water.

“The tragedy of a drowning impacts families and friends for a lifetime. It can also lead to serious injuries such as permanent brain damage,” said Mr Amy.

“Not everyone is aware of their responsibilities with backyard pools and spas so take a look online or have a chat with Council if you’d like to know more,” he said.

If you’re planning to install a pool or spa you will need a building permit issued by a registered building surveyor.

Proposed changes to State Government legislation means all property owners will need to register details of their pool or spa with Council from 1 December 2019.

“Property owners will need to provide details including the property address, date of construction, building compliance certificate and the registration number of inspector who issued the compliance certificate,” said Mr Amy.

“Some people may not have this information so we encourage you to get in touch with Council’s Building Services Team so we can work together to meet the requirements,” he said.

To discuss safety and compliance requirements for your pool or spa, contact Council’s Building Services Team on 5471 1700. Find information on keeping your pool safe at www.kidsafe.vic.com.au. Details on pool building permit requirements are available at the Victorian Building Association website www.vba.vic.gov.au.

Tips on keeping your pool or spa safe:

• Install a compliant safety fence at least 1.2 metres high
• Check to ensure the gates self-latch and self-close
• Remove climbable objects from around the fence such as pot plants, chairs, pool pumps
• Ensure there is not excessive space under the fence
• Don’t prop open the pool gate
• Never leave floating toys in the pool as children may try to reach for them
• Empty wading pools immediately after use
• Remember that safety barriers such as pool fencing are no substitute for active adult supervision of children around water
• Register details of your pool or spa with Council’s Building Services Team.

Image: Is your pool fence secure?

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