Rules for pool and spa barriers set by state, but many cities set their own rules, too

Posted at 7:44 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 09:02:39-04

So far this year, 35 people have drowned in Maricopa County. Ten of those were children, according to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.  

"Every sad story that we hear when it comes to drowning is the parents [saying,] 'I didn't know--I didn't know how fast they could go out the doggy door. I didn't know how fast they could get to the pool,’” said Melissa Sutton, a board member of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.

They’re reminding parents that it doesn't take much for children to drown, and it's not always in the most obvious place.

"I mean it's buckets in your backyard, it's the little kiddie pools, it's bathtubs, it's toilets,” Sutton said.

Arizona law requires any area intended for swimming that is 18 inches or deeper and 8 feet wide to have barriers, but cities have some latitude when determining how to define such barriers.

For example, "If the structure is acting as the barrier, then the doors that lead out to the pool need to have typically either alarming devices or some sort of self-closing or latching mechanisms, or you have to have some sort of cover for your pool,” said Hans Silberschlag, assistant chief with the Tempe Fire Department.

Silberschlag says the Tempe Fire Department normally don't ‘police’ homes for compliance, but they will always come and check if asked.

"As simple as it sounds--it only takes a few seconds for someone to slip out and drown,” Silberschlag said.

To find the specific regulations where you live, click here.