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How homeowners in West Virginia can keep their pools safe

Approximately 7.4 million swimming pools are in residential or public use in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same organization also estimates that there are more than 3,500 non-boating drowning accidents each year, many of them occurring in pools. Besides drowning, pools increase the risk for slips, trips and falls as well as exposure to harmful chemicals.

Homeowners will therefore want to follow these three safety tips. First is to secure the surroundings with a climb-resistant fence, at least 4 feet in height, with a self-closing gate and with a latch above the reach of small children. A pool alarm could also prevent drowning accidents.

The second step is to come up with clear pool safety guidelines. All guests should be familiar with them. For example, homeowners will want to forbid all running and horseplay around the pool. Electrical appliances and flotation toys should be kept away from the pool's edge, and diving should be forbidden in shallow areas. In case an accident does occur, it's important to keep a first-aid kit accessible.

Lastly, homeowners should take care to prevent mechanical or chemical incidents. Be sure to secure suction fittings and plumbing grates as well as all chemicals. All supervisors should know what the procedure is for dealing with chemical accidents.

When a slip and fall accident occurs around a pool, this could form the basis for a premises liability claim. The victim may need to show that the property owner breached the duty of care. A lawyer could hire experts to gather the proof and then proceed to negotiations. If a settlement cannot be reached, the victim could litigate.

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