IMPORTANT facts and case studies relating to these hazards
There are thousands of unsafe pools around the world in hotels, leisure centres, holiday parks and people’s homes. Most pool owners or management are totally ignorant of these entrapment risks to their customers.
Children are often the victims because they are naturally inquisitive about everything and play in the current created by outlets, sometimes with fatal results.
Pool suction systems can range from 1 horsepower to 12 horsepower or more and once entrapped in a pool suction system, it’s almost impossible to escape.
Recent research in Germany showed that the pool industry underestimated the real number of such tragedies because hotel owners had paid compensation to victims families to avoid adverse publicity. Some well-known hotels have been found guilty in this respect and caused fatalities.
In the 1st decade of this century in the USA, there were 106 reported entrapment cases with 12 fatalities and 89 people needing hospital treatment – some for serious injuries which in some cases would have been life-changing.
Recent cases include:
- A 6-year-old boy who died after being entrapped by his arm.
- A 14-year-old girl who died in a hotel pool in Tunisia.
- A 14-year-old boy who was trapped by the suction drain and was retrieved from the pool unconscious and suffered a 4-hour operation to save his life.
- A 6-year-old girl in a holiday pool in Lanzarote was entrapped by her hair, which was torn from her scalp. Despite this awful experience, this young girl is, in fact, lucky that she did not drown.
- In a recent case, children managed to remove the covers from pool outlets and entrapped themselves (the Kormo-safe outlet is tamper-proof).
- Last year a 4-year-old British girl became entrapped in a spa bath in Bulgaria and endured a 4 hr operation on her intestines to save her life.
- In 2016 a 9 yr old girl died as a result of being entrapped on the suction outlet of a water slide at an aqua park in Brazil.
There are many more harrowing examples.
Outlets ought to comply with BS EN & Spata standards PWTAG guidelines. The standard for outlets and inlets is BS EN 13451-1.
The Kormo- safe system domestic version, incorporates the two outlets 2m apart as required by standards and has anti-vortex plates to prevent hair entrapment. It is designed with large pipework to reduce velocity when using typical domestic pumps and the commercial version at 3.2 metres has more and larger pipe spigots. It’s also the pool designer’s responsibility to specify pumps and pipework to create acceptable safe velocities (per the standards).
Hotel pools should be thoroughly checked daily for damaged or tampered grilles, blocked outlets etc.
Domestic pools should also be checked weekly when in use. A hair entrapment test should be carried out on all pools before commissioning.