Can you be electrocuted in the pool? You’d better believe it! In fact, electric shock drowning is one of the biggest hazards a swimmer can face. In any body of water, electricity can be a menace.
Any time an electrical current is near the water, there is a clear and present danger for anyone in or nearby that body of water.
In general, electrocution is the term for death by an electrical shock. When our skin is wet or we’re standing on a wet surface, our chances of electrocution are greatly increased. Now, this danger is obviously present by any body of water, including bathtubs, hot tubs, lakes, you name it. In today’s blog, we’ll focus primarily on the dangers that affect swimming pool users. Here’s what to look for and how to prevent someone from being electrocuted in a pool.
Knowing is Half the Battle
When it comes to electricity, it pays to know where it might be present. In most cases, faulty wiring can be the source of the problem. The wiring could be old, exposed or it can simply not be correctly installed. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, people should be careful when it comes to faulty grounding for washers, vacuums and sump pumps.
To prevent someone from being electrocuted in the pool, pay close attention. Taking careful stock of the swimming environment can save a life.
Here are some common electrical sources to take extra care around:
- underwater pool lights
- electric pool equipment, including pumps, filters and power cords
- electrical outlets or switches
- electrical gear, including radios, TVs and the like
- overhead power lines
Recognizing When Someone is Being Electrocuted in the Pool
Just like drowning, electrocution can be a silent killer. Don’t expect sparks to fly out of the water. Instead, the victim who is being electrocuted in the pool will be unable to move or make noise. Often, while paralyzed, they’ll slip unnoticed beneath the waves. In this type of situation, swimmers may feel a tingling sensation or become unable to move. If someone is watching, they may notice swimmers moving frantically away from an area or lying motionless in the pool.
This is why you shouldn’t swim alone. If no one is there to witness the accident, no one will ever realize electricity was the culprit. After the fact, this often looks just like a fatal drowning.
How to Help a Person in Danger
If you witness someone being electrocuted in the pool, it’s important to know what to do. First, do not jump into the water to save them! This will likely just result in you being electrocuted as well.
Instead, you’ll want to cut the power. Hit the switch, and unplug anything that may be causing the current. For this reason, it is crucial to know where the circuit breakers are for your pool.
Next, you’ll want to move the person away from the source of electricity. To do this, use a non-conductive floatation device or rope to help pull them to safety. Call 911 for help as soon as possible. Additionally, once you’ve safely gotten the victim out of the water, be sure to administer CPR if possible. As we’ve often written, CPR training can save lives. We also recommend installing a child pool safety fence to help prevent unsupervised younger children from accessing the pool.