Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

Double-drowning prompts pool-safety concerns

July 28, 2005

The drowning deaths last week of two children have prompted a Lansing City Council member to call on city staffers to remind residents with swimming pools about safety issues.

Council President Kenneth Ketchum said he didn't know exactly what could be done but said the city should try to do all it could to avert a tragedy similar to the one that occurred earlier this month. Two 2-year-olds, Emma McKnight and Nicholas Anderson, drowned July 18 in a residential pool on Robin Road.

"My concern is these two families are suffering very much, and I just don't want to see this happen again if we can help it," Ketchum said at the conclusion of Thursday's City Council meeting.

"In light of the tragedy that occurred this last week, I wonder if our public works department could somehow research the people who have pools and visit with them to see that there is property security," he said.

John Young, the city's Public Works director, said the city would follow the council's direction.

Alicia Mein, the city's code enforcement officer, said city code considers anything holding water more than 24 inches deep and intended for human use as a pool. Such structures, she said, are required to be surrounded by a six-foot fence with a gate and working lock.

She said the city would begin to extend its code-enforcement efforts to inflatable pools if they surpass the 24-inch threshold.

"We will require they meet our guidelines," she said.

Police Chief Steve Wayman said the pool where the drownings occurred met code requirements.

Mein said the code wasn't meant as a guarantee of safety.

"We wouldn't want to equate our codes with being able to prevent what happened; that was a terrible accident," she said. "But the codes are in place to try to : make sure a pool is secure."

Mein said she didn't have available an exact count of swimming pools in the city. To date this year, the city has issued three permits to build pools.

"There aren't tons of them like there are in some communities," she said.

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