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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A father’s crusade for safer pools in Florida led to Daytona Beach on Wednesday.
On the first day of the two day meeting of the state’s Building Commission, Chris Sloan made his case the board’s electrical advisory committee as to why all pools should be required to have low voltage lighting.
Sloan’s seven year old son Calder died on April 13, 2014, while swimming in his family’s pool in North Miami. He was electrocuted due to a faulty pool light and electrical grounding and bonding on the pool’s lighting system.
“As a parent who endured this kind of loss, you are looking for anything you can possible do to prevent a black swan incident of this happening to your children again,” said Sloan who spent the day lobbying electricians and pool builders. “If we just kind of walk out of this room and nothing is done. Then this recedes into the past and electrocution and these things will continue.”
In May, 2014 three kids in Hialeah were shocked while swimming in an apartment complex pool. They managed to escape when family pulled them out.
CBS4 investigated the incidents and found something alarming, two sets of standards.
Commercial pools were required to carry low voltage lighting which is survivable in an accident. Residential pools though could carry high voltage which can be deadly.
Since the CBS4 investigation, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have passed legislation to make pools safer by banning high voltage light in new pool construction. Sloan wants all new pools in the state to be required to have low voltage lighting. Not everyone one was sold, however.
“If we were dealing with a rash of incidents I would say yes this is something we have to get out in front of. But I’m not aware of that rash of incidents,” said a member of the Electrical Advisory Committee.
“I know it’s not going to solve all the problems, but it’s a starting point,” said Florida Building Commissioner Kevin Flanagan.
Experts are split on whether the low voltage matter matters.
“You are arguing what’s better? Seatbelts or airbags? They both provide the same level of security and safety to a passenger in a vehicle. The same applies to low voltage lighting,” said Brian Hall with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.
In the end the majority of the electrical advisory committee agreed a change to low voltage statewide would be ideal, however they needed 75 percentof the panel to agree. They were a few votes short.
“To me if this all stopped now it would already been a success because we are talking about this,” said Sloan.
After the vote, Sloan pledged to keep moving forward. He pointed out that the electrical advisory committee’s decision was only a recommendation and it would be the Building Commission, who meets Thursday, who has the vote that matters the most.
“If we just save one life by making this change then obviously that would be sufficient to recommend the change,” said Building Commissioner Frederick Schilling Jr.
The commissioner added that he expects the board to take some sort action on this issue.
“It may not be the cure all for everything but it certainly is a step in the right direction,” said Shilling Jr.
For more information on the dangers of high voltage lighting in pools, visit calderslegacy.com/poolsafety.