Florida is hot. And because Florida is hot, we have more pools than nearly every other state (approx. 1.3 million), second only to California (approx. 1.6 million). For community associations, the pool is often the number one amenity offered to its residents. But it could also be the association’s number one liability.
With all those pools, Florida also holds the dubious distinction of having the most child drowning deaths. Drowning also poses a significant risk to medically fragile adults. Pool safety should be on everyone’s mind. The Florida legislature has created safety standards for public pools including barriers, pool covers, door alarms, and devices to disable the pump/drain.
One safety measure that Florida does not require is an emergency phone poolside for public pools. Florida is one of only seven states that do not have an emergency phone requirement (the other states without an emergency phone requirement are Vermont, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Colorado, Alaska and Hawaii). It is curious why a state with so many pools would not require an emergency phone at public pools.
Community Association pools are considered public pools since they serve more than one living unit or household. Since community associations operate public pools, they can expect children and medically fragile adults to use these pools. While emergency phones are not required by law, they still may save a life.
Hard-wired phones are better than cell phones in emergencies because:
- Hard-wired emergency phones will give an exact location to 911 operators whereas cell phones only give the cell tower location
- There is no need to worry about dead cell phone batteries
- There is no need to worry about intermittent or low cell reception
- There is no need to worry about unlocking a cell phone with wet fingers on a touch screen, using fingerprint recognition or giving out your PIN to strangers. Anyone can use an emergency phone at the touch of a button.
- Emergency phones can be used in other circumstances where a cell phone is not available. For example, a child might get accidentally locked out of their home or a cell phone might be stolen from the pool area or fall into the pool.
For the safety of its residents and guests, all Florida community associations should consider installation of an emergency phone at its pool. A red phone could save a life.