Posts

June 10, 2019

Andrea Wells
Director, Marketing & Communications
awells@phta.org

PHTA Partner National Drowning Prevention Alliance Becomes a Proud Supporter

(ALEXANDRIA, VA)—The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is proud to announce that our safety partner the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) supports the adoption of International Swimming Pool & Spa Code (ISPSC) to help save lives When adopted, the ISPSC will provide the country’s 13 -14 million backyard residential pools and spas the same level of high bather safety protection that the VGB mandates for the nation’s 300,000 public pools.

“The NDPA supports the adoption of the ISPSC in states and local jurisdictions around the country,” said NDPA Executive Director, Dr. Adam Katchmarchi. “We believe that the adoption of the ISPSC is a great step towards making pools and spas safer and look forward to help promote its adoption..”

The International Swimming Pool & Spa Code (ISPSC) is a comprehensive pool and spa code that regulates the minimum requirements for the design, construction, alteration and repair and maintenance of new residential and public pools and spas, including aboveground pools, waterparks, and factory built portable hot tubs.  It specifically addresses guidelines on how to comply with the VGB requirements for suction entrapment avoidance and layers of protection inhibiting unintended entry and drowning prevention.

“We’re encouraged for increased bather safety that the message is resonating and more and more of PHTA partners are supporting the adoption of the ISPSC, said PHTA Vice President of Standards and Technical , Carvin DiGiovanni.” “As we look toward the future, ISPSC adoption will enhance the safe use of our industry’s pools and spas reducing incidences while increasing the joy and health benefits they provide.” PHTA has always been on the forefront of ISPSC adoption.  We will continue to educate the industry and stakeholders on the value and benefits of the ISPSC.”

The great news is as of June 1,  21 states and 181 local jurisdictions have adopted it providing new safety protection for millions of residential swimming pool owners and users. Check out the full ISPSC Adoption Status Report at APSP.org/ISPSC.

PHTA offers the ISPSC for sale.  Purchase your copy at APSP.org/Store. For more information about ISPSC, visit APSP.org/ISPSC or email Carvin DiGiovanni at cdigiovanni@phta.org. 

About PHTA
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance was formed in 2019, combining the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF). With the mission to “Celebrate the Water,” PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit APSP.org or NSPF.org.

The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC)

Drowning is still a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1–4, the second leading cause for children under 14, and remains in the top five causes of accidental death up to age 55. Drowning is reported as the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the United States overall. It is worth noting that more children ages 1–4 die from accidental drowning than motor vehicle accidents. We seem to be in a repeating circle as our drowning numbers in the United States remain nearly steady year after year. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that 163 children fatally drowned between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2017; nearly 70 percent of them were children under the age of five. What can give us all hope is that drowning is a 100-percent preventable accident.

Prevention is the most important weapon against drowning and other aquatic incidents. Prevention is not a new concept when it comes to water safety. However, there is now a tool that puts prevention and safety at the forefront for both residential and commercial pools. The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) is one of the most important documents ever to come out for the industry and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) is proud to support it. It contains everything a pool contractor needs to make the pool safe and operate efficiently. You may ask yourself why consistent codes and standards for pool and spa construction are important for the health and safety of the public. The best answer is that the ISPSC sets the minimum standard for pool and spa safety by substantially reducing the risk of child drowning through introducing or enhancing requirements for residential pools and spas. The adoption of the ISPSC can reduce drowning accidents by requiring barriers, compliant design and slopes for entry and exit, work towards the elimination of entrapment incidents once and for all, and ensure that pools and spas are built using approved and safe materials. As you can see, the ISPSC goes well beyond addressing safety.

Mandating change seems to work when dealing with pool and spa safety. Over 10 years have passed since the passage of the only federal law for pool safety in the United States. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB P&SS Act) has made a significant impact on the safety of commercial pools and spas. The mandating of unlockable drain covers and the installation of other anti-entrapment devices has resulted in no entrapment deaths in commercial pools and spas since the law was passed. Additionally, the access to safety information and advice for the consumer has increased substantially with the creation of the Pool Safely Campaign under the CPSC. It is important to note that when adopted, the ISPSC will mandate the same level of safety protection for residential backyard pools and spas that the VGB P&SS Act requires for public pools and spas. In addition, the CPSC has recognized the jurisdictions that have adopted the ISPSC as being eligible to apply for CPSC’s pool and spa training funds.

Organizations such as the NDPA and the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA; formerly the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals) have encouraged pool operators and owners to employ as many layers of protection as possible around swimming pools and spas. Simply put, the concept of layers of protection is a multi-faceted approach that includes a mix of supervision, barriers, alarms and safety devices to lessen the chance of a tragic incident. The more layers of protection put in place, the less chance an incident will occur. Layers of protection often include the following: fencing and barriers around water; self-closing, self-latching gates; hard-shell pool covers; door, window, gate and water alarms; ensuring the pool or spa has met all required codes; having rescue equipment near the pool or spa; learning CPR, first aid and teaching everyone to swim; always having responsible supervision around the water; and keeping the pool and spa area secure and free of toys and other attractive nuisances when not in use.

As simple as these safety steps can be to employ around a pool or spa, many unsafe pools and spas still exist. Since 2000, the fatal drowning rates in the United States have not seen a substantial drop. It is more imperative than ever that solutions are brought forward that can begin to make important and much-needed steps in the right direction. The ISPSC is an important part of the solution. The ISPSC is one of a kind as there is no other comprehensive model swimming pool and spa code available that addresses all types of pool and spas and all aspects of construction and design. Even though most states and local jurisdictions have some form of existing pool codes, most lack a comprehensive code or law that addresses all aspects of design, construction, and safety of residential pools and spas. Many jurisdictions around the country lack even minimal barrier and/or suction-fitting requirements in residential pools.

As a uniform building code that has been (as of this writing) adopted in 20 states and 171 local jurisdictions, the ISPSC is playing a vital role in changing the nature of safety in backyard pools and spas. When reviewing the ISPSC, one of the first things that comes to mind is the requirements for specific safety steps around pools and spas, including barriers and the use of alarms. As cited by national agencies and organizations, barriers and alarms are one of the most important components to reducing unsupervised pool access by children. While any type of new regulations can be a hard sell, this particular regulation is important for the pool and spa industry. We must make it our mission to make pool and spas safer to reduce both fatal and non-fatal drownings and other aquatic injuries. Creating safer pools and spas is essential to reducing the incidence of drowning. The ISPSC is a much-needed step in the right direction for both the commercial and residential industries in our goal of making water safer.

To contrast the impact of the ISPSC, there are approximately 300,000 public pools and spas currently protected by the VGB P&SS Act and in comparison, close to 13 million backyard pools and spas that are not. Adoption of the ISPSC achieves this goal. The objective must be to get the ISPSC adopted into law in order to have residential pools and spas achieve the same level of mandated safety protection that the VGB P&SS Act requires for public pools and spas. Simply put, the ISPCS, when adopted becomes the “VGB P&SS Act” for residential pools. Drowning impacts so many people each year and a promising tool is here to help. It is time to mandate change and implement the ISPSC so that our staggering statistics change for the better.

Statement of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance in Support of the International Swimming Pool & Spa Code

The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) is a model code that regulates the minimum requirements for the design, construction, alteration, repair and maintenance of new or substantially re-modeled swimming pools, spas, hot tubs and aquatic facilities. This includes public swimming pools, public spas, public exercise spas, aquatic recreation facilities, permanent in-ground residential pools and spas, and permanent residential pools and spas among other water venues. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance supports the adoption of the ISPSC in states and local jurisdictions around the country. Many states and local jurisdictions have already done just that. More should follow suit.

Developed in collaboration with the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance, (PHTA; formerly the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, APSP), ISPSC adoption provides many benefits supporting the safety and health of water. If adopted, the code requires pools and other water facilities to: meet the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act; meet the APSP–7 standard for suction entrapment avoidance; require layers of protection around pools and spas that help prevent the unfettered access by children, including fencing, covers, and door and window alarms; and ensures that water quality is healthy and safe, among many other safety and health provisions.

This article was originally published by the Building Safety Journal. Read it here.

Read the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance’s press release here.

Water Safety is defined as the procedures, precautions and policies associated with safety in, on and around bodies of water, where there is a risk of injury or drowning. It has applications in several occupations, sports and recreational activities, and above all at home and in real life.

Constant supervision is needed to avoid drowning incidents.

Since drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death among children between the ages of 1 and 5 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14, water safety should be a priority for parents, teachers and caregivers. 

Drowning incidents don’t happen as portrayed on film and TV. They can be difficult to detect as drowning is an extremely silent event. Contrary to popular perception, there is little or no splashing to be seen, no sound involved. Children can drown in front of other children, adults and even lifeguards before anyone realizes what has happened.

It only takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text message, check a fishing line or take a picture. Death and injury from drownings happen every day in domestic environments such as home pools, hot tubs, bathtubs even buckets and in open water like the beach or in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.

Here are 5 water safety facts to keep in mind:

10 fatal drownings per day

In the U.S. drowning takes an average of 3,500 – 4,000 lives per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day. According to the CDC, from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States, which ia about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.

Drowning is among the top 5 causes of unintentional injury

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury related death for children ages 1-4. Drowning remains in the top 5 causes of unintentional injury related death from birth to 54 years old.

23% of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool

CDC data show that in children most drownings occur in residential swimming pools while in adults, most drownings occur in natural waters. Most child drownings occur when children get into the pool on their  own. The CDC found that most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and the majority of these drownings took place in the midst of a family reunion or gathering.

Learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%

Learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for 1-4 year olds who take formal swim lessons. Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning up to 88%.  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics modified their recommendations about swim lessons, citing studies that show most children over the age of one may be at lower risk of drowning if they have some formal swimming instruction.

Drowning is fast and silent. 

Drowning can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds, the time it takes to apply some sunscreen or post a tweet on social media. Movies depict drowning as flailing and screaming for help but in reality this is not the case. Drowning is quick, silent and deadly and unless you’re a trained professional you may miss the signs of drowning all together. Drowning victims seldom have the time, energy or air to call for help. There aren’t any flailing arms or big splashing to catch onlookers’ attention. 

Education is key to prevent unintentional drownings. The NDPA relies on donations from our members, friends, and supporters to continue our work. With your support we can continue to bring people, groups, and leaders together to prevent drownings. Remember our mission – “Together WE can PREVENT the tragedy of drowning!”

Donate today!