As we swim through the humidity of late July, many households are turning to backyard pools for relief. Ensuring your safety while having fun is of utmost importance. The usual rules apply—do not let children swim unattended, don’t consume alcohol before getting into the pool, and use your sunscreen. The maintenance of your pool is just as critical to your personal safety! Improper storage and handling of pool chemicals often leads to fires, explosions, injuries and toxic fume events—the last thing on anyone’s mind for a day at the pool.
Earlier this month, accidental mixing led to hospital visits and more for two households in Whitman and Agawam, Massachusetts, prompting State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey to issue safety information emphasizing the importance of following manufacturer instructions and ensuring chemicals are stored and handled properly. He stressed the way to avoid burns, explosions, and toxic fumes can be as simple as reviewing best practices, such as:
- Keeping chemicals secure and dry
- Putting powder in water—not water in powder
- Thoroughly cleaning tools and storage locations to avoid accidental mixing
A full list of other tips and considerations can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services website. While these chemicals are made for water, it is important to remember that small quantities that drip from pipes, cracked windows, or a wet swimsuit can set off dangerous chemical reactions. Following strict guidelines for cleaning tools is also necessary, as even mixing old and new batches of the same chemical can result in unforeseen consequences, which was the case in Agawam, MA.
NFPA 430, Code for the Storage of Liquid and Solid Oxidizers covers the proper care and storage of these powerful substances. And our pools, hot tubs, and spas safety tip sheet offers tips to avoid electrical shock while playing in your water oasis. Between a pandemic, the upcoming hurricane season, and other challenges, first responders have a lot on their plates. Let’s alleviate the burden by ensuring we work and play safely with the tools that can keep a sweet pool day from turning sour.