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The ins and outs of pool alarms

When it comes to pool safety, alarms can provide an extra layer of protection and offer a little more peace of mind.  

Pool safety should be the number one priority for pool owners, especially when it comes to little ones. It goes without saying that adult supervision around the pool is a must at all times, as is installation of fencing, gates and gate latching mechanisms that comply with all locally legislated requirements.   

For home owners looking for a little extra protection, pool alarms are an idea worth investigating. They come in few different styles, all of which are pretty easy to install and operate, but may be more or less appropriate for your pool according to your specific situation and requirements. 

In simple terms, pool alarms use a sensor to detect when someone or something has unexpectedly entered the pool — usually a small child or a pet — and then send a signal to sound the alarm. Most models feature separate remote receiver for use in the house which also sounds, in addition to the sensor unit itself. A number of device types are available, offering different features and benefits that make them more or less suited to specific applications.

Buoyant surface alarms

As the name suggests, these alarms float on the water surface and detect disturbances including movement, ripples and water displacement. They are a portable option, which makes them easy to install and suitable for a range of pool types including above ground and inflatable varieties. On the downside, they can be prone to false triggers and some feature a limited surface area coverage, so be sure that your choice is suitable for your pool size or consider purchasing multiple devices. 

Immersion alarms 

This style connects to the pool edge and sits underwater to sense displacement. They are a more permanent choice that floater alarms and the submerged design means they are generally less susceptible to false triggers from wind, rain and other disturbances. Some feature weight limits — that is, they will only record when an object above a certain weight, say 8 kg, is detected entering the water. 

Wearable alarms 

These are a great option for both kids and pets. Wearable alarms incorporate a wrist device like a watch (which can also be easily attached to a pet collar) and a remote receiver unit. The obvious limitation of this design is that it does not account for children or animals that are not wearing the device, but it does offer a solid, reliable 'second set of eyes' for parents concerned about kids and pool safety.  

Gate latch alarms

Some gate latch designs now come with an electronic audible option, which quickly alert pool owners to unexpected entry to the pool area.

Things to think about

There are obvious differences between these devices, so you should take your specific requirements into consideration. This includes budget, pool size, exposure to the elements (and therefore the likelihood of disturbance from wind and rain), any limitations in the receiver range (which will be determined by the distance from the pool to the house), whether the sensitivity can be adjusted to suit your environment to limit false triggers and, finally, the volume of the device alarm — is it loud enough to be heard clearly?

You'll also need to remember that pool alarms are a supplementary form of protection, rather than a replacement for adult supervision and adequate fencing. Whichever option you select, you'll still need to ensure that other precautions are in place to guarantee a safe swimming environment for everyone. 

If you're still at a loss about which way to go, speak with a certified SPASA member, who can offer guidance on the best option for your needs. 

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