Are you safe in an indoor college swimming pool or in your own indoor pool during a thunderstorm? Some people may not give it much thought, but if you’re a user of indoor swimming pools, then you may want read this.
Some universities may keep their pools open if the directors feel that the building is up to code and meets the safety regulations. The regulations state that the electrical system needs to be grounded and connected to the earth in a way that will limit the voltage from surges if the building is struck by lightning, surges in the power line or from high voltage lines which may come into unintentional contact with the building if they come down in a storm. It also states that the electrical system needs to have stabile voltage when operations are normal.
Too, a question that comes up is what if the building the indoor pool is in was built before the above regulations went into effect? Well, some dangers here are that some pools have lifeguard chairs made out of metal or metal bleachers which aren’t connected to a ground. This means that the lifeguard chairs and the bleachers aren’t grounded so they are not entirely safe. Also, some systems which were up to code in the past may have deteriorated and now may be no longer safe. In dealing with a public inside swimming pool though, the decision whether to allow to swimmers in the pool is usually up to the aquatic director who would know if his or her building is protected from lightning during a storm.
So what does this mean to the homeowner who has an indoor pool? If the electrical system can be guaranteed to be grounded and everything inside which is metal is grounded, then it should be safe to swim. The call to swim during a lighting storm then would be your call and your responsibility. However; lightning has hit an indoor pool in a freak way where the lightning ricocheted off a tree into an open window into the pool. Although no deaths were reported, there were injuries.
So for public pools it basically comes down to the choice of the aquatic director who is supervising the indoor public pool whether the pool stays open or not. And you, as an indoor pool owner, will need to make your own call.
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