Only on 6: Pool Death Could Lead to Countywide Changes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Miami-Dade Commissioners are considering changes to pool safety rules after the death of 7-year-old Calder Sloan earlier this year. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014)

    New rules being mulled by Miami-Dade County would crack down on swimming pool lights and electrical systems, in an effort to make swimming safer just four months after a 7-year-old boy was electrocuted in his family's pool, NBC 6 has learned.

    The new rules would greatly reduce how much electricity would flow into a pool if there were a problem with a pool light. The family of Calder Sloan believes a malfunctioning pool light may have been to blame for his death this year.

    “Hey, something needs to be done,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. “We started coming up with our ideas and solutions and how we could kind of change what’s currently going on.”

    The proposed ordinance would mandate that underwater lighting in all private swimming pools would utilize transformers and low voltage circuits with each underwater light being grounded. In addition, the proposed ordinance would set the maximum voltage for each light at 15 volts; an amount Edmonson said is not enough to kill.

    Calder’s family supports the new ordinance and hopes it could lead to even more changes.

    “I think it gives us a lot of solace that Calder’s short time on Earth accounted for something,” Calder's father Chris Sloan said. “Miami-Dade has so many swimming pools. We hope that their efforts here will impact the whole country.”

    The proposed rules would grandfather in private pools, so the change would only be mandatory for residents who built new pools or have work done on their existing lights. But Commissioner Edmonson hopes the proposed ordinance will encourage families to make the changes even if they don’t have to repair their pools.

    “That’s exactly what I’m hoping, that people will take the initiative,” Edmonson said. “Now, they know that 120-voltage lighting systems in the pool can be fatal to their loved ones, and I think that would help us prevent that.”

    Thursday, five of the county commissioners will officially meet to review the proposed ordinance. It’s expected to pass and then go to the full commission in a few weeks. If it passes the full commission, it could be put into place by this fall.

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