Hidden danger.. preventing electric shock in pools

Time for a check up of your pool's electrical system

As the temperature heats up, the neighborhood pools are filling up. And while the biggest safety concern is drowning, the recent deaths of two people at a private pool in North Alabama reminds us of the electrocution danger.

Electrician Jack Galbreath, of Galbreath Electric, has forty years experience. He has inspected hundreds of pools. We asked him to look over an older pool and offer safety advice.

Most important he says your pool should be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters known as GFI's. "That's something we can't stress enough. They work and save lives," says Galbreath. Like what you'd find on your bathroom outlets the GFI's trip the system when there's an electrical issue, shutting off power to prevent electric shock. You can test your own and should do so at least once a week.

Older pools may need a complete overhaul to meet current safety codes which are upgraded every three years. Especially those built before 1990, need to have a thorough inspection by a licensed electrician according to Galbreath.

Most pool lighting has 120 volts of electricity. Galbreath advises you switch out to a safer 12 volt LED lighting system. "The fixture itself is expensive, but worth it," says Taylor Galbreath.

Pay attention to anything unusual. "Any exposed wires, lights flickering, pump motors failing; the pool is trying to tell you something is wrong," advises Jack Galbreath.

TV's, radios, extension cords should all be kept away from the pool and deck area.If you're working around the pool, always wear shoes and cut off the power.

Talk to your children and make sure they're aware if they feel a tingling in the water to swim back away from it. Get out of the pool quickly, without touching any metal. Shut the power off and call an electrician.

When choosing an electrician, be sure they're licensed by the state and insured.

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