As the mid-summer temperatures continue to soar, it is open swim time at more than 1,200 public swimming pools in Fulton County. As residents enjoy the water, the Fulton County Health Department warns that accidental drownings among toddlers and youth and recreational water illnesses (RWI) among all swimmers can be avoided by practicing safety precautions.
Recreational water illnesses are caused by germs and chemicals found in the pool water. The germs are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or having contact with contaminated water in pools and water parks, etc., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fulton County’s Environmental Health specialists have been busy inspecting public pools to ensure water clarity and proper chlorine balance. The inspectors also check for the presence of prominently placed safety equipment, including proper gate height, 911 emergency phones and first aid kits.
“Some of the most common pool inspection violations are pools where the chemical readings are too low and where the flow meters are not working properly,” explains Fulton County’s Environmental Health Deputy Director Ellis Jones. Prior to entering a public pool, Jones recommends parents of young swimmers and adult swimmers check the pool’s latest inspection report. Public pool inspection reports are to be placed in a visible location, typically near the pool entrance or in the main swimming area. To report a public pool safety hazard in Fulton County, call 404-613-1303.
The CDC and the American Red Cross recommend these additional safety precautions for swimmers:
FIVE Tips to Prevent Swimming Pool Injuries and Accidental Drownings Before You Enter the Pool
- Check for a lifeguard. If on duty, the lifeguard should be focused on the swimmers.
- If NO lifeguard is on duty, a “NO Lifeguard on Duty” sign should be posted. Swim at your own risk!
- Know where the safety equipment is located.
- Use well-fitting Coast Guard approved life jackets for flotation rather than foam or air-filled toys.
- Don’t swim if pool drain covers are missing or broken, or can’t be clearly seen.
Four Tips to Prevent Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) while in the Pool
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea or have an open wound on your body.
- Shower before you enter the pool. After leaving the pool, shower again for at least a minute.
- Don’t swallow the water.
- Don’t urinate or defecate in the water.