MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade Development committee passed a low voltage mandate in residential pool 4-0 Thursday morning.
The measure is a result from a CBS4 investigation into four children shocked in pools earlier this year.
One child, 7-year-old Calder Sloan, lost his life when he was electrocuted in his family’s pool. Days later, in Hialeah, surveillance cameras captured the chaos at the Palms West apartments when three children had to be pulled from the pool when a pump sent an electrical charge into the water.
Commissioner Audrey Edmonson sponsored the legislation after seeing the CBS4 report. The move would make Miami-Dade the first county in the state to mandate low voltage.
“I hope this legislation lifts some hope that Calder did not die in vain,” Edmonson said.
Two weeks ago, Palm Beach county began considering identical legislation to better protect their residents.
Florida’s swimming pool industry initially refused to support the Miami-Dade proposal. They felt existing state and federal codes were sufficient.
Thursday, Florida’s Swimming Pool Association did an about-face saying they would support the measure. However, they also added amendments to the legislation citing it would further strengthen the proposal.
“We just didn’t feel that we should come out too quickly on one way or the other, until we knew more information,” said Jennifer Hatfield who is with the association.
County staff said the amendments could hamper the legislation from moving forward due to legality issues. In the end, the commissioners passed the ordinance without the amendments. Edmonson invited the association to help her draft further legislation to include their concerns.
Commissioner Lynda Bell said she would be sponsoring further legislation that would waive permit fees for existing pool owners who want to remove high voltage systems.
Speaking before the vote took place was Chris Sloan, the father of Calder Sloan. Sloan told the commissioners Edmonson’s proposal was long overdue. He called it a “profound positive change that would save lives.” He responded to pool industry comments about the expense of low voltage systems. “I would say whatever the costs is it doesn’t equal the life of Calder.”
“I do not believe this is why Calder was put on Earth. Calder was not put on earth to die. I believe he was put on earth to accomplish amazing things,” Chris Sloan said. “However, in the wake of his passing, that something positive can come out of it, and a lot of positive can come out of it, I mean that’s an amazing blessing.”
Sloan thanked the efforts of Irv Chazen with the Associated Swimming Pools Industry and CBS4’s David Sutta, for championing the legislation.
Miami-Dade commissioners are expected to pass the legislation in the coming weeks. County staff says once it is passed the low voltage mandate will become law about 30 days later.
For more information, visit calderslegacy.com/poolsafety.