Avoid Suction Entrapment with Vac-Alert

The Vac-Alert safety vacuum release systems protect against suction entrapment in pools and spas.  The main concern centres on single main outlets and plastic main outlet covers that fracture or deteriorate.

Entrapment, which can result in death or severe internal injuries, occurs when swimmers get close to the main outlet at the bottom of the pool and are held by tremendous pump suction, making it near impossible to free themselves or to be pulled free. The risks have been publicised globally, following tragic deaths of children and adults in private and holiday pools and spas.

The 2012 US Consumer Product Safety Commission report records 106 entrapment accidents between 1999 and 2011. This includes 12 fatalities and 89 people who suffered injury. Bathers escaped unscathed in just four cases. The majority of these entrapments involved under 18-year-olds.

Tragic stories are easy to find, for example, 6-year-old Zachery Chon died after being trapped by the arm, 33-year-old John Van Hoy Junior was trapped in a spa at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau, a 14-year-old French girl lost her life in Tunisia after jumping into the pool close to the filter pump system where the safety grill had broken away.

Some major hotel groups are now recommending SVRS be fitted as standard to their pools. For example, Starwood Group’s Sheraton Hotels and many Hilton Hotels use MSI Vac-Alert, a safety vacuum release system that responds within a millisecond to an increase in filter pump suction – spring loaded pistons open the pipe to atmosphere, freeing the life-threatening suction.

UK pool industry standards were updated about 10 years ago, but contrary to perceived wisdom the risk of entrapment is not removed by installing a dual deep suction system. US research shows this still presents a safety risk. The effective way to eliminate risk is to fit an SVRS. This way families will not lose loved ones and companies will not face legal and reputational damage.

The Hilton, Sheraton, Dragonara and Ramada Hotels have all installed the Vac-Alert safety vacuum release systems.

Read The Sun's story on the latest incident of entrapment - this involves a 5-year-old boy from the UK becoming  trapped in a spa while on holiday abroad. 

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