Backyard pools can be oases of good,clean fun for the whole family, but they also can be lurking liabilities if homeowners don’t properly secure them and carry insurance policies against unforeseen accidents and negligence. No homeowner wants to find themselves staring down the barrel of a wrongful death lawsuit from a very preventable accident.
The first thing to do is make sure your pool is securely fenced in behind a locked gate. Some states and communities require this upon construction, but even if yours doesn’t, your homeowner’s policy surely will. Pools that are not in use should be covered and set with motion detector alarms which go off if the surface tension of the water is disturbed. All pools should have a readily accessible shepherd’s hook and life ring to toss to any swimmer who is in trouble in the water. Even good swimmers can have medical emergencies in the pool that make it difficult or impossible to make it back to shore.
Conduct routine safety inspections of the pool and its surrounding areas at the beginning of each pool season and frequently throughout the year to make sure there are no defects or repairs that need to be made. Are ladders securely attached and all hardware tightly in place? Are the boards on all decking splinter-free and flush with the ground or have some boards loosened over the winter? Get out there and walk through the area in bare feet to make sure. Check any equipment such as slides and diving boards to insure that they are sturdily attached and in good weight-bearing condition. Purchase a sign to display that clearly states there is no life guard on duty and all persons are swimming at their own risk.
A drowning or near-drowning can result in medical bills that could quickly escalate into the six or seven figures. Stunned family members of the victim may want somebody with deep pockets to pick up that tab, so make sure that your homeowner’s policy is adequate enough to cover the high cost of medical bills, as a person who survives a near-drowning incident may require expensive medical care for the rest of their lives.
Pool owners never want to face to moral and legal implications of a drowning on their premises. Installing or upgrading your fencing is one way to protect yourself from liabilities this season.