GFCIs or ground-fault circuit-interrupters are the best safety device for pool electrocution prevention. When they detect that electrical current is being released into the water, the GFCI will shut off the circuit and, thus, the electrical current in less than 1/30 of a second to prevent anybody from being electrocuted.
What does a GFCI do?
A GFCI automatically cuts electrical power to equipment when the GFCI senses that the electrical current flowing through the outlet/equipment has found an unintended route to ground such as through the water and, thus, anyone swimming.
Here is the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s description of how a GFCI works:
“A GFCI constantly monitors current flowing through a circuit. If the current flowing into the circuit differs by a very small amount (as little as 0.006 amperes) from the returning current, the GFCI interrupts power faster than a blink of an eye to prevent a lethal dose of electricity. GFCIs are designed to operate before the electricity can affect your heartbeat.” (Source: CPSC – GFCI Fact Sheet)
GFCIs are considered by the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission to be the best safety device for pool electrocution prevention – and electrocution prevention, in general.
Testing GFCIs for pool electrocution prevention
To maximize pool electrocution prevention, the GFCIs used for your equipment should be tested monthly to ensure they are still functioning properly and, thus, providing life-saving protection.
To test a GFCI for your swimming pool:
- Plug an item of pool equipment such as an underwater light into the outlet and turn the power on
- Press the “Test” button – If the equipment does not turn off, then the GFCI is not working properly or was incorrectly installed and needs to be inspected and/or replaced by a licensed electrician
- Press the “Reset” button – If the equipment did not come back on, then the GFCI is not working properly or was incorrectly installed and needs to be inspected and/or replaced by a licensed electrician
Pool electrocution prevention strategies
Aside from making sure you have GFCIs installed with all of your pool equipment, other pool electrocution prevention strategies include the following:
- Use the “Shock Alert” tool which detects whether water has been electrified due to the presence of an electrical current that has been released into the water as a result of faulty wiring and/or defective equipment (red flashing lights and warning indicators beep when electrical current is detected and the flashing and beeping intensify as the Shock Alert tool gets closer to the source of the electrical current/voltage source)
- Make sure that you and your family know the location of all of the electrical switches and circuit breakers that affect the swimming pool and its equipment and be familiar with how to turn off the power in case of an emergency
- Stay out of and away from the water if any of the equipment is not working properly
- Confirm that the swimming pool and all related electrical equipment have been inspected (and replaced when necessary) by a licensed, experienced and qualified electrician and that they are in full compliance with the applicable safety codes and the National Electrical Code
Get a free consultation with an experienced electric shock lawyer
If you or someone you love is a victim of serious personal injury or death caused by electricity, you can call and speak with Jeff Feldman, arguably the nation’s most experienced electric shock accident attorney. Jeff has litigated cases involving low hanging power lines and against utility companies in multiple states and consults with lawyers throughout the country on electric shock injury and wrongful death cases involving electricity. You can call Jeff toll free at (800) 548-0043 for a free consultation.