May 22nd, 2014
01:41 PM ET

What to do if Your Swimming Pool Becomes Electrified

Terrifying video from CNN affiliate WFOR shows three Miami children being shocked as the pool they're in becomes electrified.

One girl gets zapped and her father pulls her out immediately.

Another girl grabs the railing but is unable to let go; the electricity contracts her muscles and she looks lifeless. Her grandfather snatches her from the water, getting himself shocked in the process.

Miraculously, no one died – but this shocking incident serves as a great lesson heading into the holiday weekend: be careful of exposed wiring by your pool, and keep a fiberglass hook nearby in case you need to scoop out a friend in a split-second’s notice.

How can pools become electrified? 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta says anything electrical in or around your pool can be a risk – lights, pumps, filters – especially in pools built before 1984, a time when there were fewer safety regulations.

In this case, WFOR reports the pool became electrified due to unconnected ground wires in the pool pump house.

When the girl touched the handrail, she acted as the 'ground' and the electricity pulsed through her.

How to stay safe: 

If you have a pool, it’s your responsibility to inspect the wiring in the lights and around your pool area.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), recommends a safety system including Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters:

– On underwater lighting circuits operating at more than 15 volts

– On electrical equipment used with pools, hot tubs, and spas, including 120-volt and 240-volt heaters close to the pool

The CPSC also says you should have a fiberglass Shepherd’s crook/rescue hook nearby.

Dr. Gupta said having this non-conductive material handy will allow someone to scoop a victim out of the pool without becoming a victim himself.

See the full guide of CPSC pool safety recommendations HERE.


On "New Day" Friday, Chris Sloan shared the story of his son, Calder, who died from being electrocuted in a pool after brushing up against the pool light.

Sloan described the boy saying:

"This was a kid that had an absolute zest and gusto to live but also to be absolutely – he was just so beautiful to other people and to me – this is not just a tragedy for us but also the world to lose such a very special boy."

Sloan is on a mission to spread information about pool safety.

You can see more about his son's story at Calders Legacy.

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Mike Nicholas

    I think it is time for a major network, like CNN, to investigate "stray voltage" from utilities and the impact, including dangers, this has for swimming pool owners located in close proximity to sub-stations. For too long utilities have been "let off the hook" for their negligence regarding "stray voltage" in it's entirety.

    October 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Reply

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