The Dangers of Swimming During a ThunderStorm
At the first sign of a thunderstorm, most people know they need to start shutting windows, turning off electronics and making other preparations for the storm. As a Certified Pool Operator® there’s a whole lot more to take care of. To prevent anyone from swimming during a thunderstorm at their facility, a Certified Pool Operator® needs to jump into action and carry out a response plan as soon as possible.
Don’t Drain the Pool
Some people think that draining the pool is a viable way to stay safe and prevent anyone from swimming during a thunderstorm. Not only is this overkill, but it can also do more harm than good. Keeping water in the pool maintains enough weight to hold the pool in place during a storm. When rain falls, water in the ground can surge and potentially lift an empty pool off of its foundation. Also, because it takes so long to empty a pool, it isn’t a logical way to deal with thunderstorms which can occur suddenly.
Secure Deck Furniture
One common myth is that you should throw chairs and tables from the pool deck into the pool. In the high winds of a thunderstorm, waves will move the furniture around, potentially ruining the vinyl or fiberglass or gunite pool floor/walls. On top of this, pool chemicals and water can damage these items and cost you even more money. The best thing to do is move everything off of the pool deck and store it in a secure area. You should have a designated spot for these items in your response plan.
Pool Chemistry and Electricity
When a potential storm is on the way, make sure to shock your pool with chlorine. Although you will have to treat the pool again after the storm, this will help reduce the amount of water balancing you’ll have to do. Make sure all automatic and electric pool equipment are turned off during a thunderstorm. Also, covers for this equipment should all be latched or bolted down for further protection.
Prevent Swimming During a Thunderstorm
When a storm is within 6-8 miles of a swimming facility, patrons must never continue swimming during a thunderstorm. In the event of an electrical storm (thunderstorm), immediately close the pool at the first sound of thunder or the first sighting of lightning. The pool area is to be cleared of all patrons and locked. Keep everyone away from the windows once inside, as flying debris can break the glass and potentially cause an injury. Keep everyone away from corded telephones, fences, tanks, rails, and pipes. Shower use should also be strictly forbidden, as it can be as dangerous as swimming during a thunderstorm. After the storm is completely over, wait 30 minutes before allowing anyone back into the pool.
Much of thunderstorm safety relies on preparation. Certified Pool Operators® need to know which areas of the swimming facility are safe and unsafe. Safe areas are dry and inside large, permanent buildings away from the pool. Unsafe areas include those near electrical conductors, electrical equipment, metal objects and water. There needs to be a thorough risk assessment that analyzes the building environment, type of construction, structure occupancy, structure contents, and lightning strike consequences. Every aspect of the emergency response plan should be written down and the staff should know the procedure by heart.
Professional Storm Preparation
Looking to learn more about pool operation? Pool Operation Management offers award-winning CPO® certification courses to give you the most comprehensive education in everything about pool operation. Over a two-day course or during online training, our experienced professionals will help you get certified and acquire real-world knowledge to aid you in your career in pool operation.
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