According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “Since 2002, CPSC is aware of 21 fatalities that involved electrocution in swimming pools. Hot tubs and spas may present the same electrical hazards as swimming pools.”
What does it mean for a person to be “electrocuted”? It refers to electric shock being a person’s cause of death. What a lot of people don’t realize is that wet surfaces, such as a wet pool deck, a wet ground, or wet grass, can dramatically increase a person’s chance of death by electrocution whenever electricity is in the vicinity.
Sources of Electricity Around Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs
A lot of us don’t realize it, but we could be virtually surrounded by electricity when we’re swimming or soaking in a hot tub or spa. Common sources of electricity near pools, hot tubs, and spas include:
- Extension cords
- Power cords
- Electrical switches
- Electrical outlets
- Pool lighting (located underwater)
- Power lines that are overhead
- Pool equipment that runs on electricity, such as vacuums, pumps, and filters
Signs of Electrical Shock
“If I’m swimming or hanging out around a pool or hot tub, how can I tell if someone is receiving an electrical shock?” According to the CPSC, someone who is swimming may experience a tingling sensation, or they may have muscle cramps. Or, they may not be able to move at all and they may feel like something invisible is holding them in one place.
“What do I do if I think I’m being shocked in the water?” Our advice is to immediately move away from the source of shock. If you can, get out of the water and when you exit, do NOT use the metal ladder. If you touch a metal latter, it can increase your risk of shock.
If you think someone in the water is being shocked, turn off all power immediately. If the power is not shut off, rescuers are at risk of shock too. Call 911 and have an ambulance dispatched to the scene. The American Red Cross recommends using a fiberglass Shepherd’s rescue hook to carefully remove the shock victim out of the water. If the victim is not responsive or breathing normally, someone trained in CPR should place them on their back on a flat surface and begin performing CPR.