Pools Abandoned Due to Home Foreclosures Need Safety Covers
by Rachaelle Lynn
The huge number of home foreclosures across the US has unfortunately led to increased danger for many neighborhoods as far as residential swimming pool drownings are concerned. Foreclosed homes with pools mean that the risk of an individual drowning in the unguarded and unattended swimming pool increases. As with many drowning cases in residential pools, the children and the elderly are most at risk.
Curious children, who may be aware that a foreclosed home is empty and become intent on playing in or around the home’s swimming pool lack the maturity to understand the danger of doing so. Seniors who become lost or disoriented while outside the family home are often not strong enough to swim to safety should they accidentally fall in the swimming pool of a foreclosed home. Whatever the circumstances, the potential for rescue decreases when such an accident occurs at a home that everyone in the neighborhood knows is uninhabited.
In drowning cases at foreclosed homes, the former homeowner, mortgage company, insurer and any new investors in or owners of the foreclosure may be held financially liable. Regardless of where blame falls, the tragedy is one that could be avoided with the installation of a safety cover.
Safety covers are not the same as winter pool covers. Often referred to as “pool covers you can walk on” and advertised with an entire family seated upon or an elephant standing on them, safety covers are made to tightly fit swimming pools and withstand a substantial amount of weight. Regular winter pool covers are not made to fit the pool tightly or withstand weight, and can even create more problems for a person who falls into a pool by hampering their efforts to reach the surface.
The staggering number of foreclosures over the past few years, with new buyers sometimes not taking possession of a foreclosed home for one year or longer, means that many residential pools are not only unguarded, but in grave disrepair. Without the application of pool chemicals, swimming pools quickly develop densely clouded (and green, if algae is present) water. This makes visibility difficult or impossible for a person who falls into the pool as well as for anyone attempting a rescue. Pool surfaces can also become damaged from lack of maintenance, making a slip or fall when someone is standing at the edge more likely.
Pool safety covers mitigate some of the problems of poor pool maintenance by keeping most sunlight, dirt, and debris from entering the pool. Weather- and corrosion-resistant anchoring systems keep safety covers secure. Still, concerned parties such as homeowners’ associations, mortgagees, and insurers should check swimming pools, including their enclosures and access points such as gates and screen doors, at foreclosed homes regularly.