It’s time for another safety expert interview. Today, we’re speaking with John Ford, one of our favorite pool fence dealers.

John Ford cares deeply about pool safety and keeping kids safe. He is a husband, a Navy veteran, the owner of a righteous beard, a dog father and an entrepreneur. But most importantly, he is San Diego’s finest pool safety expert. In this interview, John speaks about his life, his career and so much more during this conversation with Life Saver Pool Fence‘s president, Eric Lupton.

Do I Have to Buy a Pool Fence?

You can watch the Child Safety Source interview with John Ford right here:

Working with John Ford

If you live in the San Diego area, and are in the market for a pool fence, John Ford is the water safety expert to speak with. That’s easy to understand from the interview.

After being honorably discharged from the military, John wanted to giving back to the community. Mark Hinkle, the owner of Life Saver Pool Fence of Northern California, got him started in the pool fencing business. We’ve actually produced a written interview with John before, but he’s such a fascinating figure that we wanted to get it on video.

Reach John Directly:

Email John Ford:
Phone: 619-554-2002

pool fence couple2

Thanks again to John for sharing his story with us. He’s doing some really amazing work and helping to save lives. Everyone at Life Saver Pool Fence wishes him continued success!

Subscribe to the Child Safety Source Interview Podcast!

For safety fans on the go, we also offer audio-only versions of these interviews. As you can see, keeping up with the show is easy. Here are three ways to listen to Child Safety Source while you’re on the move!

Below is a Direct Transcript of the Child Safety Source Interview with John Ford on Friday, 5/19:

Eric: We are, I think we are currently live. How’s it going?

John: It’s going great, another beautiful day in San Diego.

Eric: So today we have with us and I’m making sure that we are airing this on the right Facebook page. But today we have with us John Ford. John Ford is an American hero, he’s the man. He is a Navy veteran, he is the owner of a really awesome dog which I am a big fan of. He grows the best beard in all of lifesaver in my opinion.

John: We should have a contest because…

Eric: You would win.

John: I’d be happy to get another trophy that would be cool.

Eric: Yeah, John Ford was the rookie of the year for 2017, 2016?

John: 2016, yeah.

Eric: 2016, yeah. Of all of the new lifesaver dealers, it started in 2016 John was the best one. So I was really cool. So as a lifesaver pool fence owner in San Diego, he goes to people’s backyards, he assesses their pool safety situation, he gives the best recommendation on how they can safeguard their pool and make their pool safer for their children based upon their family, their needs, the layout of their backyard. He does all of these every single day and he also installs and sells lifesaver pool fencing and other different saving products, pool arms. He refers swimming lessons and he is just anything related to pool safety is within John’s will house and he’s got an awesome backstory that hopefully, he can get into and that’s it. Did I miss anything?

John: Yeah. Oh no, you pretty much hit the nail on the head every day.

Eric: I mean that’s not far off right?

John: Oh yeah, no I actually really, really enjoy it. It’s something that I didn’t even know was an option when I was thinking about what I wanted to do I was really happy that family friend kind of was involved with you guys for the last decade and got me into this and it really every day gets better and better though too. So it’s not like oh every day. It’s like every day you know. The site is in San Diego, I get to be people’s backyards, I go everywhere from La Jolla to El Cajon and North and South County and I get to see different parts of San Diego that you know, I’m not the San Diego native. So I’m always enjoying exploring different areas, different beaches that you can try and scavenge your way down to and try and find one that’s not overrun.  But it’s always fun going out there and is very rewarding especially when the fence is up and I see these little kids just going up and bouncing on the fence trying to get through there and I’m like yeah, good job me.

It’s very rewarding to also have the parents go ‘oh my gosh, the peace of mind I have just standing back here after having the fence up for half an hour. ‘You can see this whole wave of relaxation especially with grandparents or someone who just occasionally watches the kid; the child excuse me who’s not used to the high energy and stress of having a toddler or young child running around and then with the danger of the swimming pool is really nice to be able to put a fence in for people who really appreciate it.

Eric: Nice. So, I always like to ask people first every superhero has a superhero origin story. So I always like to ask your origin story you know, if you were a superhero which you are kind of, what is your origin story? Where do you come from? What was the path that led you to your current superhero status?

John: So how far do you want me to go back?

Eric: All the way to the beginning.

John: All the way. So I came out screaming and crying. So I was born in Northern California, in San Jose a not so little of a town but it’s just South Bay about 40 minutes south of San Francisco.

Eric: Okay.

John: We lived in a house in Abtos, which is like right on the sea clips until I was about a year and a half old and that was about the longest we had stayed anywhere until I had turned 18 and then started doing my own thing.

Eric: Why did you move a lot?

John: Well, it wasn’t like military really background. My dad was in the Army during way back in Vietnam.

Eric: Mine too.

John: Yeah, that’s awesome; salute to that.

Eric: So, I’m quite a bit older than you so your dad must have had you rather late huh?

John: Yeah, so I’m 26, my dad’s 75.

Eric: Wow, that’s impressive. So that means he was 50? Is that right?

John: Yeah, yeah or 49 or 51 one of those.

Eric: Wow, is he still around?

John: Yeah, he’s still doing pretty good. Unfortunately, he had a stroke about a year and a half ago but he’s doing really, really well. It wasn’t a major stroke, my mom was able to get him to the hospital fast enough to get the emergency shot. So that really helped out. So he has a little bit of balance issues but that’s about it. So that’s really a blessing.

Eric: So how old is your mom?

John: She is now 63.

Eric: Wow.

John: Oh man you’re putting me on the spot here.

Eric: So both of your parents had you really kind of late. I mean was this their first? Are you the only child?

John: First and only and best.

Eric: And best and was this their first marriage? Did they have prior marriages?

John: It’s my mom’s first marriage, my dad second marriage or third. I don’t know, I never met the two first wives so.

Eric: Wow, it’s rare to hear people starting a family at that wise age. So I’m in a kind of a similar boat and I thought my parents started late. My mom was 37 when she had me and my dad was like 34 and they were always really grateful that they had kids later in life because they thought they were a little bit smarter and wiser, a little a more you know, don’t sweat the small stuff you know, that they were just better people because they were 37 and not 25 right? Not that there’s anything wrong with having kids at 25.

John: No, definitely.

Eric: And to their particular tastes you know, they were partiers back in their 20s so they are very glad that he kind of got that out of their system and waited to have kids. And your parents waited longer which is super impressive.

John: Yeah, I think I really benefited from that. My parents like you said, just collective wisdom you know almost collectively a hundred years of experience they had before I was born.

Eric: That’s insane.

John: The better part of the century. So I gave them a hard time about it all the time they were very calm, relaxed. Well, part of the reason that we moved around so much thought to answer your question was my dad was in the high-tech industry doing wireless network  bridges which I think it’s like Wi-Fi. I’m not really sure. So he was doing that right during the ‘.com bomb’ timeframe. So just going from different small startup tech companies to different small startup tech companies. I mean after that we moved all over California. Actually, I went to three different high schools throughout my high school career and one of them was pretty much right down close to here – El Toro high school and Laguna, Lake Forest then Aleso, Nigel and Aleso and Nigel. That might just be the name of the city. I don’t remember the name of the high school. But yeah, it was cool in having that eclectic experience growing up; not only having my parents be calm and relatively wise but also around getting to meat literally hundreds if not thousands of people before you know, I struck out into the world for myself and after that I tried a myriad of retail jobs in the food service industry and pretty much just landed on you know, I think I’m going to join the Navy and you know, to see the world they say.

Eric: Right, before you get to that Stephanie Marie Robertson who is a swimming instructor she says hi and I wanted to say hi back. She says hi to Eric and John, both of us

John: Hello.

Eric: Which I think you’ll see that in the little mini screen. See the window there?

John: Yes.

Eric: There she is, cool. So then you joined the Navy which my uncle, I have two uncles that one was in the navy and I think the other one still is and one actually just liked our post which is kind of funny. His name is Damon; my uncle Damon Lupton and he was in the Navy and his brother, my uncle is a master chief as is his wife. So I was coming from a family who’s kind of really heavy into the Navy and my grandfather was in the Navy as well. He served in World War II and actually served in Japan on a naval ship off the coast of Japan right around the time of the bombing. So like I said I have Navy kind of in my bones so I appreciated your Navy story.

Eric: So you joined the Navy to see the world as my dad often used to say when they suckered him into the Army.

John: Exactly, so I joined the Navy to see the world and that is what happened. I did see the world so like no complaints there I guess. As promised, delivered as promised. One of the things that I really enjoyed about that was seeing different countries that I would never travel to on my own time.

Eric: Like what?

John: Like we went to the Philippines, we went to Kuwait, we went to Dubai and we stopped by a little part of Africa on our way back home. Like places I’d never go to but seeing different countries just the structure of it and you can see like Western influences in different countries-in like the touristy areas but for the most part it’s totally different everywhere else. Its way more different, you can just watch YouTube video or read a book about it and go oh yeah I kind of know how that is. It’s one of those things that you have to be immersed in it before you’re like, California is amazing. Now I kind of want to stay on the West Coast indefinitely or pretty much just the west coast because we’ll get like briefings. I’m sure that didn’t help with my opinion or my predisposal list but we’d get like briefings on okay so you’re allowed to go within 5 miles of the ship. You have to have 2 people with you at all times, you can’t do this, you can’t do that, this is dangerous and if you aren’t back to the ship by this time we’re leaving because this area is dangerous. So good luck. That was a little bit of an eye-opening experience especially with all these different experiences I was getting on the ship and just as an engineer on the ship I was getting a whole new skillset. I didn’t even consider so that was a really cool experience

Eric: So that’s what you did, you were an Engineer?

John: Yeah, so I had signed up under advanced electronics computer field. That was kind of just like anyone is watching and thinking about joining the armed forces this is some unsolicited advice for some people. If you take the ASBAB and you qualify pretty good, I’m not going to throw any numbers out there but I’ll just say I qualified relatively where I could do a lot of things. Don’t go for the most difficult thing there is. Go with what you think would be the most fun because you are going to be there for four years you might as well be having some fun, even if it’s a little bit more dangerous than you might want to do. Go have fun because otherwise, you’re just going to get over encumbered with things that are just like I said advanced electronic field. I think you probably know how long it took me to get this video working on my cell phone. I am not a computer guy you know, so.

Eric: But you’re doing it on your phone which I think is the first time we’ve done it on a phone. Someone as if asked if we could so I’m glad that you have kind of broken the barrier now that we know that it’s possible on a phone. So thank you for that.

John: always happy to break the barrier with this. Yeah, I signed up for that and I did not want to after going to school for like a year for that I was; to end a long story by the time I got to the fleet I was on undesignated fireman which means I can strike for pretty much any rate I wanted to but in the meantime I was assigned to whatever division needed hands. So that was the enginemen down in the engine room. So taking engines apart – like engines with pistons that are the size of my chest and the whole thing is the size of a school bus, they’ve got a turbocharger on it the size of a like a Camry engine. It’s insane, so that was interesting and enjoyable because I was kind of mechanically inclined before. But then I had to strike as an electrician so I spent the last year or so as an electrician and there is also a good stretch of time when I first got to my shift where I got assigned to repair division which was just bits and pieces of things all over the ship I got to work with. So that was really cool and also very handy for getting a little jack of all trades expert in a little bit of everything. But mainly this is the most valuable; again unsolicited advice for anyone thinking of joining the service. The most valuable experience you’ll get from the military is the ability and proper etiquette was just dealing with anyone. Anyone you want to talk to, especially Boot camp is such an extreme like example but you’re basically sharing a room with 100 dudes or I think they have like co-ed Boot camp divisions now. But then they spit them up at the end of the day. But anyways dealing with like a hundred different personalities, a hundred different ways of dealing with the same problem. You have to be able to communicate yourself eloquently in order to get through that for two months and then four years after that. So it’s a really good experience that I would recommend to many people want to see the world.

Eric: So real quick before we move on what was your favorite country?

John: My favorite country was Hawaii.

Eric: Okay, that makes sense.

John: obviously a joke, yes I know that’s a state but that is my favorite port for sure. I had to pick up country though I would say the little part of Africa we went to which doesn’t represent Africa as a whole. I think that country was called Dukam it was like a city-I’m not sure, I was basically in like a dark hole of the ship a month or two months at a time and we’d come out at a port like ‘oh where are we?’  Who cares, like where’s the ocean? Oh, it’s right here but you don’t want to swim next to the ship. So just kind of see the town like more interested in just going out there having experiences.

Eric: It’s funny you say Hawaii the country and you say it’s a joke but I went to Hawaii. I’ve been to Hawaii twice and the second time I went I went to Maui and the girl I went with was really concerned about not having her passport ready in time because she thought she needed her passport to go with me to Hawaii and I am not with her anymore. So there you go that might be why. That may be part of the reason is she thought Hawaii was another country. Perfect, by the way, Heather Allison is another swim instructor and she said hello as well, that’s really cool.

John: Hello.

Eric: So, how did you transition from protecting our country in the Navy to protecting children in swimming pools?

John: Well, that is a great question.

Eric: By the way how do you like that Segway by the way? Because I was just kind of impressed with that just now.

John: Oh yeah, I awkwardly work my way through that Segway all the time on estimate and I think you did a very, very good job at it.

Eric: Thank you.

John: Better than I do on estimate.

Eric: You can use that, I don’t mind.

John: Yeah, if I’m not wearing my NWU pants

Eric: What is that?

John: It can go both ways. So those are the old-style old navy’s which has the green, cameo now. It’s like thanks a lot you got the cool uniform after I got out. When I was in, when my wife was in we were wearing the blue pajamas the whole time; camouflage blue which I never understood the logic behind because it’s like oh, if you fall in the ocean we’ll never find you, great.

Eric: And that’s important to know both you and your wife were in the Navy right?

John: Yeah that’s actually where we met.

Eric: That’s really cool.

John: And that’s probably the most about everything that I got from the Navy.

Eric: I like that you said probably.

John: Yeah she’s standing right there staring at me at all.

Eric: Thankfully is just you and I talking and no one can see this so we’re safe.

John: Yeah, good.

Eric: So you transition from protecting America to protecting babies?

John: Yeah and it was a really easy transition because we had gotten out at the same time so we really had an open schedule. We had nothing really planned, we were both thinking about hey, do you want to go back to school? Do you want to become GI build? Do you want to kind of just travel for a little while? Do you want to stay in San Diego? Do you want to go to Northern California? We’re both transplants from Northern California and we ended up going up to the south bay area; so relatively Northern California. No one ever wants to say central California but it is central California. That is what it is. So central California and stayed with 20:30 lifesaver Northern California and you know while we were there we were doing some training with them and he said hey do you want to start a franchise down in San Diego? And I was like heck yeah, I do. It sounds amazing. I always wanted to own my own business, I thought it was a really noble cause.

Eric: And let’s be clear, it’s not a franchise. He got the 20:53 wrong but it’s fine.

John: Is that always really?

Eric: No, you’re the owner of a franchise, you don’t pay franchise fees, you’re a dealer. You own your own business

John: Oh okay, cool. We’ll have to change that across the board then.

Eric: By the way, Heather, Alison who I was wrong is not an Iron shore Instructor. She is just a water safety ambassador. She said she lived in San Diego for 10 years.

John: Awesome, well I hope to see her around each. I’ll actually be at the Ipsa Chapter meeting tomorrow at Admiral Bakersfield. I think it starts at 1 or 2 PM. Allison you’re more than welcome to be invited.

Eric: Actually awesome because she has to first names. Her name is Heather and Allison. I think her first name is actually Heather.

John: Oh, awesome. Well, Heather Allison come on out to Admiral Bakersfield tomorrow. I’d be happy to talk to you about safety and free food. So not provided by me. The good people of Ipsa.

Eric: Heather do you still live in San Diego? Let’s see what she says. Anyways while she’s responding about living in San Diego so you met up with Mark Tinkle has been a life savior of Northern California for a very long time and he has been doing it successfully and he’s got employees and he’s protected hundreds if not thousands of pools. By the way Heather lives in North Carolina now so she probably will not make your Ipsa meeting.

John: Oh no, I’m sorry Heather.

Eric: Somebody will.

John: That’s all right.

Eric: So you grew up with his son, right? You’re really good friends with his son?

John: yeah, I have seen Mark doing the pool fence, being involved in pool fence since I was literally in fourth grade. So that was kind of cool experience because I never really took too much of an interest I saw all of these strange stuff floating around in his garage until I got out of the Navy and he was saying hey, do you want to open your own business? And I said heck, yes because I think I mentioned before that’s something I’ve always wanted to do and also a very stark contrast to the Navy experience or any military experience -having the command structure of you know at least 17 people directly above you and all of them have their opinions on how you should be doing your job to being your own boss, the captain of your own ship. It’s very rewarding in every way. So I spent months training with Mark and just doing fences every single day just the estimate process Logan as well as the installation process Logan, Derick, Eric his crew of people that he’s got going in and I owe a lot of the success that I have and that shiny trophy you guys gave me to Mark’s really and you’re really good mentorship that first year really helped me get going. Even though I had no idea what I was doing or an inkling of what I was getting myself into I still felt like I did a relatively good job at getting out there and keeping kids safe and that’s the goal. So that’s the mission accomplished there.

Eric: And let’s talk about this because there’s an article about it in the local San Diego news. But let’s talk about the arc your life took during your journey of being the lifesaver in San Diego. And you came out of the Navy and you had some difficulties making the transition maybe immediately and you started Lifesaver of San Diego up and like in any new business required investment and time and energy. And if I get this right you were literally homeless at one point right?

John: Oh yeah. So when we had started, after we did training with Mark; training/couch surfing which worked really well, very cohesive. So we had so pretty much everything we had and also Mark helped us out with a small loan to get some tools. He also loaned me some other tools to get a van and we came back down to San Diego with a storage unit and the mattress in the back of a van. So we would try and do estimates during the day, get people’s schedule, get all the paperwork filled out and on the calendar and just find an 25:51 and we kept 24-hour gym memberships because what a great deal for homeless people you know, $30 a month you can use the bathroom anytime you want and you can take a shower anytime you want. If anyone is interested in being homeless also 24-hour fitness got to throw that lights out there too. But yeah, it was actually kind of cool, I made it looked way better in hindsight because during the actual experience it was a little bit stressful you know, getting chased off of properties or having the cops called on you for literally no reason than just it’s illegal to be homeless which I have my own opinions on. But anyways we were standing in the back of the van and then wake up in the morning and do estimates. And we were only staying the back of the van for around three months or something. It was so long ago now.

Eric: And I mean we hear this narrative all the time of people leaving the military and both you and your wife were in the Navy and to think that after serving our country you end up homeless I mean that’s terrible. There’s no other way to put that. That’s not your business and everything but at the same time that sucks.

John: I mean it does suck. There are a lot of programs out there that would help people transition. They actually have a whole week long class about helping people transition more death by PowerPoint before they finally get their claws out of you.

Eric: But I mean one week after four year long experience; maybe that’s not enough, I don’t know. It might be but you know.

John: Well, I mean it definitely had its own valuable lesson. Being in the back of the van starting the business definitely creates drive and motivation way better than a little bit of caffeine Starbucks in the morning. So that kind of mindset of this is the only choice you know, success is the only option. I mean I’m not going to start doing an M&M monologue right now.

Eric: One chance, one opportunity.

John: Right now I can remember it but you know yeah.

Eric: I know.

John: Yeah you know.

Eric: So you are homeless living in the back of the van, you were going out to people’s homes, you were giving them safety evaluations, we were installing pool fences for them to make their homes safer for pools and what you like about safety in general?

John: Just the freedom of doing my own installs and like the satisfaction of having extremely happy customers at the end of the day or even better yet the customers who absolutely loathe the idea of putting a fence in their backyard they’re like ‘oh this is going to be so ugly.’ All I can do is smile because I hear that literally every week now. It is going to be so ugly and I direct those customers to something that’s going to be a bit more aesthetically pleasing like the copper bane or the smooth pole black or smooth pole brown or copper vein poles with black on black border and mesh. It looks fantastic. It looks totally different than any other pool fence out there; especially with the arched gate, the double trust upright system on the gate. It’s something that stands out in the yard as a benefit. It’s something that adds to the aesthetic value of their yard at the end. I’ve people literally almost like in tears. They were like oh we’re so worried about this but it looks so good. It was like surprised but also you know, happy for them that it ended up so good and I was happy to facilitate that as well.

Eric: So yeah, I guess that is a common misconception a fence around your pool is going to be ugly but a mesh pool fence is different than like a rod iron prison around their pool. Like you said there are different color combinations, it’s transparent and you can talk about this probably more than I can but it’s designed to keep children out of the pool.

John: yeah, every single aspect of the fence. I mean at the top and the bottom of the fence where we have the four rows of stitching which is nice those 4 because if you lose one you still have three more. If you lose 2 you still got two more and that’s why we have a lifetime warranty. But as well as when you pull on that border material if you’re a child. Even if you are a little Army Ranger child and can do a straight pull up a just use the putting on it. They are really isn’t any good and hold for a child to grab on. As well as I hear a lot of the time people are concerned if it’s so easily removable then how do I know my kids aren’t going to be able to do this? One of the features of the fence is that its attention-based system. So that means when you have a 15-foot long section that is another one begins, you have a double post and then a safety snap latch. You have to have not only enough manual or strength and dexterity to pull those poles together from the top you need to them from rolling as well as using your other hand to unclasp the latch and really all of that is impossible unless your shoulder is at least 3 1/2 feet off the deck. So I would say it’s around 10 to 13 would be when I would start to worry. But then we have the permalodges swimming is still an issue. I mean you can just attach the per matches and then everything is wambo, bambo good to go.

Also a key in the magna latch on the gate is another great feature of that. So a lot of peace of mind goes into that. Or a lot of little details go into this to create the piece of mind at the end including one of the things that my customers seem to be most impressed with, one of the smallest features that we put on the fence and that’s a little slide that sits on the bottom of the gate hinge. It’s like a 20 cent piece of plastic but the right application and getting it tapped the right way. It’s the last thing that a child would be able to use to try and scale the fence is that hinge that’s a good foothold and then not anymore because we put a slider on there and attach it with a screw. So this is one of the kind of a side note here. One of the things that I really appreciate about Lifesaver because I had no idea when I said yeah to Mark that I would love to open up my own business down here. It turns out Lifesaver is the best pool fence business out there. I had no idea, I’m sure you have an idea. I had no idea when I started this business. So I was really stoked about that especially when I go out on repair jobs or go see other fences that I didn’t install and it’s really a stark comparison compared to like our standard operating procedure that Emily and I do just when we go do an install. So I know as a small thing the little gate slide on the hinge without just the attention to detail with oriented towards safety is really special. It’s something that if I was going to get a fence installed in my backyard it’s what I would expect but it’s not necessarily the standard.

Eric: Absolutely and you know, it’s little attention to detail that shows that there is a lot of thought put into it that we’re really trying to solve any problems that could come forward. So besides a pool fence which is obviously important to you and one of the main things you recommend. What other pool safety things can people do to make their pool safer?

John: So, it’s all about safety is like an onion. Eric I don’t know if you’ve heard of this before.

Eric: I don’t usually hear it called like an onion but you know, go on.

John: well, it’s got many layers. I mean a pool fence is well we’ll get back to pool fences but mainly first things that you can do just super-fast, super easy would be to put alarms on any door that opens to the backyard. You can add a splash alarm to the pool, there is also the safety turtle wristwatch that you can attach to your child so that if it gets wet it will set an alarm off at a base station as well. I would say, I mean don’t do what my parents did. My parents used to put a leash on me.

Eric: An actual leash?

John: Yeah, I mean not for a pool per se but I would often find myself in a department store wearing a leash and then I would go under a coat rack and tie it to the coat rack and then bounce and you could probably tell why I ended up with a leash in the first place.

Eric: I actually think that the leash is a very good idea a lot of times but you know, that’s just me.

John: Yeah maybe like at Disneyland or something. I can totally see that.

Eric: I mean, that’s a great example. Yeah absolutely, you know.

John: So I would say oh sorry. I was going to get back to just the layer, the protection, the alarms on doors and windows. Door locks that are at least 50 or 60 inches off of the deck so that child can’t reach them. It’s like little push pins or dowels that go into the top of sliding glass doors or any door with a handle as well. But those are all layers but for me what would seem like the most effective layer is a pool fence because it isolates the pool from the rest of the yard, it keeps the children just out of that area completely. It’s not something that if you have music on you are not going to hear the alarm or something like that for the alarm batteries go out, some of them plug in and there are lots of different things out there but the key feature is as many layers of protection that you need in order to be comfortable in your yard, in your house with your children running around.

Eric: Yeah, I mean I always break it down into what I call 5.5 layers of protection. So parent’s supervision being the first one like you said which unfortunately as we all know human beings are fallible, right? None of us are perfect, it is impossible to watch a toddler all of the time. In fact, the parents that terrify me the most are ones that say no, I’m good I always watch my child. Those parents scare the Be Jesus out of me because that’s not realistic, right? Nobody watches their child all the time and every parent who has a hilarious story about their kid you know, covering the wall in crayon who doesn’t have years of protection in place you know, it just got lucky they didn’t go into the pool instead. So parents supervision is the main one then locks on the doors and windows, alarms on the doors and windows that lead to the pool, then a pool safety fence, then alarms in the pool or the safety turtle like you said that’s worn on the child. Then swimming lessons – the child knowing how to rescue himself if he falls in and then the 5.5, the last kind of half layer protection is CPR because that’s not preventing an accident but if you have kids you need to know CPR as an absolute.

John: I think that’s a really fantastic one. I think you probably know I had a chance to go out and see one of the ISR instructors do her thing.

Eric: Yeah, talk about that.

John: Yeah, it was really a great experience. I mean I had no idea that you could have taken literally an infant barely old enough to express themselves with any kind of words and I don’t want to sound insensitive here but throw them in a pool and then watch them get to a rescue position. Within seconds in a way that they can alert an adult that they are in the pool. Also, I think within like 6 to 8 lessons they can get to the rescue position where they can alert an adult that they are in the pool by just yelling and screaming but also kicking their way to the edge and grabbing a hold of the edge so that they can get rescued immediately. They only need to be safe until an adult does eventually get out there. I don’t have any children yet but I’ve got to say that was a hard thing to watch. I mean having a lot of these children and the all of the parents for the children sitting 30 feet away, sweating bullets while their kids scream and cry bloody murder for doing the hardest thing that they ever do in their lives 39:38 which is trying to 39:40 39:41 39:42 but one reason not to do this on your phone. But it was a really difficult thing to watch because I mean they weren’t even my kids and I was like oh my God like someone get this kid out of this pool. The kids who have been doing this for a few weeks, it was really inspiring to see them get to their back, get to a safe position, to the edge of the pool even after having being turned or rolled they are good to go. It was really impressive. I had no idea. Some of my first memories are learning how to swim but it was nothing like that. That was pretty amazing.

Eric: And honestly I would rather have a kid cry for a few 10 minute lessons and learn the skills he or she needs to save herself in the event that she ever fell in the water than go through life without this experience and then be in trouble you know, now, if something ever happened to her. So I don’t mind seeing kids cry a little bit if that means that they are safer for it, if that makes sense.

John: Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree.

Eric: And did you see any kids go in the water fully dressed?

John: Sorry, say that one more time.

Eric: Did you see any kids fall into the water during those lessons where they were fully dressed with their shoes on and their shirt and the whole nine?

John: So not at that lesson but I have seen that before because that’s a whole different layer and a whole different challenge you know, being completely dressed and falling to the water.

Eric: yeah, because most kids who drowned are thought to be inside the house which means that they are in their regular clothes. So ISR in its wisdom teaches kids how to save themselves with their clothes on, with shoes on, with a shirt on, with a diaper on, with pants on you know. Someone explained to me recently that they want the first time that a child falls in the pool and flips over and floats with their clothes on could be with an instructor not in a pool in a dangerous situation; which I like the sound of that that they get practice doing it within a structure before the chance of them doing it on their own and actually save themselves. So I like that they take it all the way to fully dress because it really addresses the real situation and not just pays lip service to it.

John: that’s why it’s one of the best layers of protection out there but supervision like you hit on before is really a good one. I repeat on estimate options but one of the houses we were renting when I was growing up had a pool and one of the games that I and my friends thought would be fantastic and just all good fun would be to run across the blue bubble mat as fast as possible and whoever gets the furthest wins. No prize, they just win. What do they win? They get to live, yeah. But obviously, a very dangerous thing and you never know what a kid is going to do while you’re not around and probably one of the worst examples of that right here with two thumbs. So when I go on estimates, you mentioned kind of tailor fitting fences to match every customers’ needs. If there are three little boys in the same house I always recommend a solid core every single time. I like this is going to be what she is going to want because it not only has a lifetime warranty because eventually when one of these guys breaks the pole, I’ll come out here and replace it for you. But also it’s the strongest fence on the market, it doesn’t actually break it just kind of yields to bending at a certain point and then you can bend it back.

Eric: So since pool fence is your thing if someone was going to buy a fence what features, what qualities in the fence should they look for so they know they are getting the right kind of fence?

John: So a lot of people have a situation especially if they’re only having one child where they may have waited or they’re just moving into a house that had a pool or their illuminated pool fence or like maybe a year and a half or 2 years or however long until they can get their child swim safe and in those situations I often recommend going with our X pole products because it’s less per foot cost and often times I mean especially they just bought a new home there are 100 different projects they are trying to tackle at the same time. They all cost way more than they` thought they did and if I can try and keep it to a lower budget for them on the installation for pool fence they are really satisfied with that and I’m really happy that you know we exceed their expectations.

Like I said before often times if there are 3 little boys in one house or if it’s a house that is like the hangout house on the block for the neighborhood. Where especially there are a few backyard swim pools that we’ve done. I recommend going with our lifesaver pool because it has lifetime warranty from you guys for manufactured defects as well as lifetime warranty from us here in San Diego. Because when I start one of these fences it’s basically like leaving a gigantic business card in people’s backyards and I don’t ever want that to even look kind of funny so what I tell my customers is that if you have any problem at all give me a call, shoot me a picture message. I can go over it. With just the picture message alone I could either talk through what’s going on with the fence or just add that to my next estimate day which is usually within 48 hours anyway. I just stop by for minutes to take care of it. I’d rather take care of it when it’s a small problem and just charge nothing that have something that could eventually be more intensive, labor-intensive for me anyways.

Eric: yeah, that’s all makes perfect sense. And I like what you said about the lifetime warranty. So you know, if the lifetime warranty is one thing people should look out for. What is another specific feature that someone market for a pool fence should make sure that they have their pool fence, like a must-have component to a fence that you think is important?

John: So if it’s a fence that’s going to be staying up for a while I will say you must have a gate because if you just use a setback pool the better the good chance that eventually you take up pool lounge and then you just get busy and get a phone call or something and forget to put the hole back into place and for anyone not familiar with a setback pool essentially takes the place of a self-closing, self-latching gate but not as effectively because it is a manual opening and closing system. Two poles necked together, you take one out, you set it back in another pool; setback pool. So and then when you want to pull the fence back up, put it back in the original place, reattach the latch and you’re good to go but if it’s something that you’ve been using for a really long time, you know, parents who are getting a fence for their first child, their second child isn’t walking yet and they’re already planning on having another child you know, that fence is going to be up for a really long time. I always recommend going with one of our self-closing, self-latching gates in that case. And of the gates, I nine times out of 10 recommend an arched gate because it looks fantastic, it breaks up the fence and you can see where the gate is even from 40 feet away as well as I really like the copper bane fence. I like that it’s shiny you know, what are you going to say? It’s good and with the copper bane arched gate is just like loud you know what especially compared to like a square stock square gate.

High gloss black and not patter coated you know.

Eric: if somebody is getting quotes for a pool fence from different companies what questions should they ask the person coming to their home?

John: And that is a fantastic question and I am going to take just a quick sip of coffee before I answer that. So kind of detracting but anyway. I’m leaning forward because I am doing this on my phone.

Eric: The volume I got you.

John: For some reason the volume gets cut to a third of what it was when we started. Life

Eric: okay.

John: I might just hang out right here the whole time. The question you asked if when you’re getting students for the pool ties.

Eric: Right.

John: Your first question probably should be what is the perfect cost of the set because it’s not just about the price per foot of the fence. Their question should be what is the warranty on the fence? What does that cover and tell me about the installation process because doing the border section; re-bordering the fence it doesn’t sound like a big step you know, again just to explain the terms here. Re-bordering a fence is when you cut a short section and you have to take the poll off, you cut the mesh where you need it to go, you reattach the border material and then put the pole back into place. By reattaching the border material you’re splitting the load of anything that’s affecting that pool across the entire length of the border of the mesh and order as opposed to just spitting the load across a couple of screws that are scooting to the mesh.

So you lose something like a percent of the strength of that section if you don’t re-border the mesh and it’s probably the step that I see cut corners on the most whenever I go do repair jobs. We did a repair job a few days ago where we had to reorder nine sections. He was kind of insane. The reason we had to reorder too was because you can literally just grab the fence and rip it off the pool because he didn’t have the border on there. So you have to ask when doing reorder the tense sections? When you go in the dirt do you use a metal sleeve instead of a PVC sleeve? Make sure that the quality of the install is going to be something that you’re going to be happy with when you look down the line 10 years from now.

Eric: And what question should they ask about the product?

John: About the product – so where is it manufactured should be first and most. Ideally it should be manufactured in Delaware Beach Florida right? So but definitely making sure that it’s manufactured in the United States is a huge quality control thing that you can just figure out why you’re on the estimate site. Hey, where are the goods manufactured? How large are the holes are the one that I often get as another really good question because there are two main different sizes of holes out there. There’s an inch and a 8th and there’s five eights inch. If you’re just looking at it and eyeballing it though you would half inch and 1 inch. And so on the half inch pool normally we install with the weather a hammer grill instead of the coring grill which is a huge deterrent for me because if I did it with a hammer grill it would be way faster. I’d be done installing in like an hour and a half because you’re like zip, zip, zip, zip. Both it can be extremely damaging to the concrete. And it’s also not liquid cooled so it just creates a lot of dust which in and of itself is a hazard and wanting you to coin drill all of that slab concrete slurry that you need to walk down into the draining system or collect. So also the 1 inch diameter pools means that you have more options as far as what to do with the holes when you are done with the fence.

Let’s say it’s a grandparent who aren’t going to have the fence up very often you know, they take the fence down most of the time and just put it up when their grandchildren are over. Or they have the option of dropping in a solo recharged LED light that only fits in the 1-inch diameter pole. And especially if we go all the way all the way around the pool which the fence often does, it looks very nice at night. It’s not something that most people think of boats when they are thinking what am I going to do with this after I’m done with the fence. But a single one of my customers who has seen one of those LED lights goes; “wow, that’s a great idea.” So I really try and recommend those to customers who are only going to have the fence up temporarily eventually. But also if they are worried about the aesthetics of the fence or having the holes in the future. And that’s another thing. If you’re worried about having the holes in your deck don’t want to go with the five-eights inch because first of all you’re going way more of them in the deck because you only have 12 sections. So that means that you’re going to have more double posts or even tighter spacing which means more holes. But also the quality of the holes count.

You’re gonna have 67 jacked looking poles in your concrete when you’re done or you could have 60, even though is not a huge difference but 60 extremely well cut cord holds on the deck. Or you still the negative that you pull out on a deck. You usually have to color match the concrete if you want to patch it with concrete. You could also you know, but you’re not going to have lights that are cracked or chunky kind of concrete around the pool.

Eric: Yeah, I mean the name core drill is actually kind of a name that can throw somebody off because what it really does is the cordial cuts the hole in the concrete, you know it slices through the deck. So you get this really clean hole, not like a hammer drill that’s chipping away at the concrete. So is an entirely different experience, I think kind of like you described. And that negative you talked about is actually the inside the core you know, the tube that gets cut out of the deck comes out intact against one foreign cylinder that my dad used to bring with him when I was a kid and bring to me. When he started lifesaver in 1987 and he was doing jobs in the late 80s, early 90s I used to think the core was really cool. So he would bring them home for me when I was a kid. Like if he did a cool core with Chattahoochee or marble or some cool surface. I had this core collection in my room because I was a nerd and I thought they were cool you know. I have good memories with some of those cores. So it already 56:07 don’t here which means it’s 9 am for you. Thank you very much. So what kind of water safety advice would you leave parents with as we wrap this up here?

John: What safety advice is first and foremost if you are the parent of a younger child, a very young child IFR lessons you know, CPR certified if you aren’t already also think about what layers of protection that you would think are appropriate for your house but go over on the layers, have one or two extra layers. You don’t want to have, you go ‘oh, man if I just had that one extra layer I could have avoided at best a trip to the emergency room.

Eric: And the new law in California right now where you’re at actually requires two layers.

John: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: Which is a great law. The law in California right now is brand-new, it just passed and it is by far the best pool safety law in the country and the reason it’s such a good law is because it utilizes the concepts of the layers for protection which every pool safety expert in the country thinks is a good idea including the Federal Government Consumer Product Safety Commission. They recommend layers for protection. They sometimes call it simple steps-simple steps saves lives. So the whole industry, nonprofit, for profit etc. all recommend layers for protection and the law in California is the first law in a country to take that idea and legislate it and make it into law. So they gave you like seven options, or maybe five options I think it’s seven and you have to pick two of them which I think is fantastic. I wish and I hope other states in the country will model their pool safety laws out of the one in California because they have really done a terrific job and I know Nadine Obigspy and Marsha Kerr and some other people that are behind the scenes who are involved in getting that law made did tremendous work in getting that past and I’m super excited that at least one state in the country has taken a step forward in the right direction with such a well-thought-out intelligent law. But you’re right you know, if 2 is the minimum, if 2 is what’s required three going one step beyond it’s probably a good idea.

John: yeah, no one is saying you have to go with all seven.

Eric: Exactly.

John: But I mean one of the reasons that law is so well thought-out and legislated is because unfortunately statistically because there are so many people in California by some of the other larger states there are a lot of drowning’s, unfortunately, a lot of child drownings. I think last year 14 children drowned in California and I’m sure while being under the supervision of an adult who is responsible for their well-being. And that’s too many. That’s one of the reasons I get up and do what I do is to keep that from happening so this is every day you know 59:42.

Eric: Out there every day and just real quick both Nadina and Marsha were behind the scenes in creating that law they both lost children the drowning. Marsha Kerr actually, her and her husband were our first ever dealers and they were in California. They were the first ever lifesaver pool fence dealer and Marsha gone on to work for the Consumer Erotic Safety Commission and she’s been a huge advocate for water safety for the past 30 years and Nadina is the OG, she is the original pool safety advocates all the way back from the 70s I believe. So this has been a great outcome for them. Yes, so I like your parting thoughts about installing as many layers for protection as you can manage and I think the last thing I want to leave on is what is the misconception about pool fence that you think people have you would like to clear up for the world at large here?

John: A misconception, other than thinking that it’s going to be too ugly when its up and we talked about that. Oh, that it’s going to be way too expensive I guess is another good misconception I could address. We you know, you lifesaver have a fence to match any budget that will do the job of keeping your child safe. Even this DIY product that you guys sell online is an effective barrier at keeping children away from the pool and our X pool is a great product. The Y pool is a great product, they’re all really great products. I would never say to someone even if you have pennies to rub together give me a call, we’ll figure something out because I would rather get the job installed just so there is not another unfortunate statistic then having to worry about although this is going to be the most expensive thing in my yard it’s not you know. Even pool maintenance is more expensive than a pool fence. If you would add it up over the course of the year that it’s really not that expensive. So I would say don’t let anything stop you from adding whatever layers you can for protection.

Eric: Perfect, that’s awesome. Anything else you want to add?

John: Live long and prosper.

Eric: Beautiful, I like that. I always wish I could do that. So where can people find you if someone wants to get a hold of you? So you cover the entire San Diego area right?

John: I would go pretty much all the way to Tameka and just about Tijuana and then pretty much as far east as I can go. I think I’ve gone all the way to Arizona before to do it. But if you want to get a hold of me you can call me at 619-554-2002. It’s a cell phone you can text me there at the same number. You could also email me at as well as you’re social media savvy hit me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Yelp, Bing.

Eric: All of it.

John: Snapchat, I don’t have a Snapchat yet but I’m sure I’ll get one by the end of the week. But Yelp is probably my favorite one because you could write me a message on there, you can also see your reviews and pictures. Facebook is very similar to that but you can see my super amateur videos on their as well.

Eric: And you’re Lifesaver Pool Fence of San Diego in all those places right?

John: Right, Lifesaver Pool Fence of San Diego. Or if you are just trying to find me online you can type in my phone number and it brings up everything, 619-554-2002. Right, that’s fantastic.

Eric: Thank you, John.

John: Well, it was a pleasure doing this interview with you do you have any other questions?

Eric: No, that’s it. It is fantastic I really enjoyed this.

John: Awesome, me too. I’ll talk to you again 1:04:28

Eric: Alright, thanks John have a great one. So for everybody else, we are actually going to be and maybe John should know this too we are sticking to San Diego. 1:04:39 he’s just putting his ear right up to it I love that. You know what I’m going to do? Actually, I’m going to put the focus on me watch this because I’m important. I have power I can do this. On Monday we are staying in San Diego and we’re interviewing Mary Ann Downing is the who is the safety mom and I think John met her once. She’s awesome and she is one of the original board members I believe of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. If not original she was on it for a very long, long time. She is a tireless pool safety advocate even though none of her professional life is tied into water safety anymore. She still preaches water safety and teaches water safety and enforces water safety all the time. She’s on several boards. In fact, when she does the interview with us on Monday she’s going to be at a swimming lesson master class and she’s going to join us at 6 AM California time, 9 AM my time and it’s going to be great. Mary Ann Downing is amazing. She’s one of my favorite people and she’s also in San Diego, right down the street from John. So we’re going to keep it west coast on Monday so if you guys want to tune in we will look forward to seeing you then. And that’s it. This is the eighth episode, I think. This is number 8 right? Sarah says its number eight. It’s got to be number 8 of the child safety radio service. Thank you all so much, we will see you on Monday.

John: I have one more thing to add.

Eric: Go for it.

John: West Coast is the best coast. 1:06:18 San Diego.

Eric: I love it perfect man. You take it easy.

John: Talk to you later, Eric.

Eric: Bye.

John: Bye.