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MSI Supports Campaign to Raise Awareness of Pool Entrapment

MSI is a long-time campaigner of the risks of swimming pool entrapment, helping to raise awareness of the danger in pools that are not properly equipped with two main drains, have faulty drains or no safety devices installed.  

Around the world, many incidents of entrapment are reported in the media, especially of young children.  Swimming pool entrapment refers to the phenomenon where a person becomes trapped by a fierce suction pulling them towards a drain at the bottom of the pool.  These incidents tend to occur in public pools, especially in holiday destinations, and are often fatal, because it is almost impossible to free oneself from the suction, resulting in drowning. 

One of the challenges is the low level of consumer awareness that the problem even exists. Now a new organisation – SPEHP (Swimming Pool Entrapment Hazard Prevention Group) – is campaigning to change awareness and understanding. 

An international supplier of swimming pool, spa and water technology, MSI is proud to become a supporter of SPEHP, a not-for-profit organisation set up and run by volunteers in three European countries, to educate consumers – especially parents of young children – on the dangers of swimming pool entrapment.   

SPEHP was started by Aileen Byrne at Brio Group UK, a health and safety training company for the pool sector, Joost Avezaat of Blue Cap Foundation in the Netherlands and Alex Gob, of Parents4Safety in Germany. 

SPEHP has created an international Entrapment Facebook page where it publishes information on accidents and deaths caused by entrapment in a pool.  The page publishes real life stories of families around the world, who share their tragic experiences of entrapment. Parents from around the world tell their stories in their own words to raise awareness of the risk and pay tribute to children they have lost.  The forum allows people to discuss issues and ideas – the aim is to prevent other families suffering the same loss.   

Joost Avezaat, The Blue Cap Foundation said, “Pool entrapment hazards can be incredibly dangerous, causing severe injuries and drowning, mainly in children.  They can occur in any swimming pool that has not been assessed to ensure that the pool’s drainage systems are risk-free from the potential of entrapment by body, limbs and hair.  The risk of entrapment is seriously underestimated yet it can be eliminated through simple tests.  These are often not conducted by pool operators because they are not mandatory in the current standard and national legislation of most European member states. This leaves the field wide open for terrible accidents to continue to happen.” 

Having established the consumer-facing public forum to raise awareness of the risks, SPEHP is now turning its attention to building an industry forum.  SPEHP has launched an international LinkedIn Entrapment Page for the pool industry and legislators.  The aim is to stimulate discussion, to network with industry bodies, discuss standards and create an experts’ advice forum to enable people to ask questions on best practice and gain guidance. 

Bob Kent at MSI said, "We greatly admire SPEHP’s passion and initiative to bring this issue, once and for all, to the wider public and industry and are 100% behind this endeavour.  The pooling of knowledge and expertise on the LinkedIn forum will, hopefully, move the industry towards a greater focus on entrapment and safety checks.  Legislation is important, but professional pool operators need to make this a priority with or without legislation if we are to prevent more accidents and deaths.” 

To combat entrapment risk, MSI has been supplying a safety release system, Vac-Alert, since 1996.  This is installed in the pool and responds within a millisecond to any increase in filter pump suction; spring-loaded pistons open the pipe to atmosphere, freeing a person trapped by life-threatening suction.  Installation takes either side of 2 hours on a domestic pool and approximately 4 hours on a commercial pool depending on site conditions.

 Bob Kent continued, “Ten years ago the pool industry introduced guidelines recommending that pools be fitted with two main drains. Some pool operators have acted on this advice, but there are tens of thousands of pools in the UK and the rest of Europe that still have just one main drain which makes them susceptible to entrapment.  The SPEHP campaign is needed to encourage change in the industry.”

SPEHP is activity seeking supporters across the globe and is delighted to announce that it is the first ever international partner of the Pool Safely Campaign in America.


Real Life Incidents of Entrapment

28 February 2017:   4-year-old girl is trapped in the outlet of a  hot tub at a hotel, sustaining serious injuries requiring surgery.

3 January 2017: Woman reported a serious injury to her back when she leaned against a pool wall and was sucked in by a pipe, trapping her and causing serious injury. 

31 December 2016: Swedish boy aged 18 months sucked into the tube of a pool.

19 November 2016: Nine year old girl drowned at a water slider park when her hair was trapped in the suction by the water slides.

4 October 2016: Five years after the death of Arnaud Honorez, his mother won the case against the tour operator - the hotel swimming pool did not meet safety standards and Arnaud was trapped under the water when his arm was sucked into the drain at the bottom of the pool.

19 June 2016:  Another incident of entrapment - a Five-year-old boy from the UK becoming trapped in a spa while on holiday abroad. 

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