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Standard for Swimming Pool Alarms Promotes Uniform Manufacturing

ASTM Subcommittee F15.49 on Swimming Pool Alarms has been organized to develop a safety standard at the request of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. When CPSC studies revealed most drownings occur in residential pools, they contacted ASTM Committee F15, which develops safety performance standards for consumer products.

According to the CPSC, an average of 350 children under the age of five drown each year in residential swimming pools. An average of 2,600 children that age are treated in emergency rooms for near-drowning incidents; roughly 79% occur in home-based pools.

To avert this catastrophe, swimming pool alarms are designed to sound during unauthorized or accidental entry. Alarms are designed to float on the surface, operate sub-surface, be worn as wristbands, or detect movement of the perimeter. “To my knowledge, no child has ever drowned in a pool that has a pool alarm,” said Merle Stoner, the F15.49 subcommittee chair, who has designed and manufactured pool alarms for 20 years as president of Poolguard/PBM Industries, Inc., North Vernon, Ind.

At a meeting in Sept. ’00, Committee F15 proposed that the safety standard address:
• A classification system for pool alarms by type;
• Definition of a pool alarm;
• Performance requirements for alarms;
• A test method for water displacement or disturbance;
• Automatic reset;
• Minimizing false alarms; and
• Instructions.

When completed, the proposed standard will be balloted among 750 members of Committee F15 representing manufacturers, retailers, users, government, academia, testing laboratories, and consumers. The committee invites individuals to participate in the creation of this voluntary consensus standard.

For further technical information, contact Merle Stoner, president, Poolguard/PBM Industries, Inc., North Vernon, Ind. (phone: 812/346-2648). For meeting or membership details, contact Director Kathie Morgan, ASTM (phone: 610/832-9721). //

Copyright 2001, ASTM