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Drain entrapments are the result of limbs, hair or clothing becoming stuck in a faulty drain. The best way to avoid the entrapment is to prevent it AND being observant around a pool or hot tub.

Parents and families should be aware of the simple steps to save lives.  These important aquatic safety tips focus on reducing the hazard:

  • Install a Safety Vacuum Release System — the device automatically shuts off a pump if it detects blockage
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings - avoiding entrapments and entanglements
  • Make sure long hair, clothing or jewelry are not dangling when swimming in a pool or sitting in a hot tub
  • Be snsure you use compliant drain covers - Ask if you do not know
  • Plainly mark the location of the electrical cut-off switch for the pool or spa pump
  • Know where the pool or spa pump switch is and know how to turn it off

If someone becomes entrapped, employ these critical water safety steps:

  • Turn off the pump immediately
  • Have a portable telephone close by to call for help
  • Instead of trying to pull the person away from the powerful suction of the drain or grate, insert fingers or a small object between the drain and the person's body to break the seal and then roll them off until they're free
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

Entrapment Prevention Options

A drain cover or another anti-entrapment device must  complies with ASME/ASNI A112.19.8-2007, pools and hot tubs operating off of a single main drain/  You should also should add one or more of the following options:

  • Automatic pump shut-off system—An automatic pump shut-off system is a device that would sense a drain blockage and automatically shut off the pump system.
  • Gravity drainage system—A gravity drainage system uses a collector tank and has a separate water storage vessel from which the pool circulation pump draws water. Water moves from the pool to the collector tank depending on atmospheric pressure, gravity and the displacement of water by bathers, which removes the need for direct suction at the pool. This type of system is also referred to as a reservoir, surge tank or surge pit.
  • Safety vacuum release system (SVRS)—A safety vacuum release system ceases operation of the pump, reverses the circulation flow or otherwise provides a vacuum release at a suction outlet when a blockage is detected.
  • Suction-limiting vent system—A suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening, also called an atmospheric vent, is a pipe teed to the suction side of the circulation system on one end and open to the atmosphere on the opposite end. When a blockage occurs at the main drain, air is introduced into the suction line causing the pump to lose prime and relieving the suction forces at the main drain.
  • Drain disablement—This is the only option that eliminates rather than mitigates the hazard. To satisfy the definition of drain disablement, the drain/outlet would need to be physically removed from the system by filling the sump with concrete, cutting and capping the piping in the equipment room or re-plumbing the section line to create a return line and reverse flow.
  • Other systems—Any other system that is determined by the Commission to be equally effective as, or better than, the safety systems listed here.