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Matt Gohlke / Pools: Tips offered to help improve water safety

In recognition of the popularity of swimming and other water-related recreational activities in the United States and the resulting need for ongoing public education on safe water practices, May has been designated as National Water Safety Month.

National Water Safety Month is a joint effort of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the American Red Cross, the National Recreation & Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association.

These organizations represent businesses, individuals and agencies involved in bringing safe, enjoyable aquatic activities to the American public, from home pools and spas, to water parks and resorts, to public swimming and water recreation facilities.

In observance of the month, the following are some water safety tips from the “Simple Steps Save Lives” pool safety program:

Stay close, be alert and watch children in and around the pool

Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa, and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water.

Teach children basic water safety tips.

Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.

Have a telephone close by when you or your family use a pool or spa.

If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.

Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.

Learn and practice water safety skills

Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.

Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.

It is important that we all know CPR, especially pool owners.

The American Heart Association has gone as far as make the following statement: “Parents and older children who live in a home with a swimming pool should learn CPR.”

Gohlke Pools teaches a free CPR class that the American Heart Association calls “CPR for Family & Friends.” It is a non-certification, entry-level CPR course that lasts approximately two hours.

Visit for a class schedule or call Gohlke Pools at 940-387-7521 for more information or to register for the free CPR course.

Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.

Have appropriate equipment for your pool or spa

Install a 4-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.

Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.

If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.

Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.

Ensure any pool or spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know if they are compliant.

Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.

Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.

Swimming is an excellent activity that family and friends can enjoy together, but we must always have respect for the potential danger that exists.

For more information on Water Safety Month, visit, the Facebook page at, or Twitter at

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or