Pool Alarms Required By Law in 2011

Pool Alarms

As of January 1, 2011, new residential swimming pools in Tennessee will be required to have a pool alarm. According to Senate Bill No. 3019, also known as “Katie Beth’s Law,” no swimming pool will pass electrical inspection if a proper pool alarm is not installed. And, as stated in the law, if a building permit is required for construction on a new pool as well as for any alterations made on an existing pool, that building permit will not be granted “unless the project calls for a functioning swimming pool alarm to be installed prior to the completion of the construction project.” Finally, the law requires pool suppliers to clearly post a sign that reads: “State Law Requires a Pool Alarm Be Installed.”

Katie Beth’s Law applies to any residential swimming pool which contains water that is more than 36 inches deep — this includes, but is not limited to, in ground pools, above ground pools, and non-portable spas and hot tubs.

Acceptable pool alarms do not include those that can be strapped to the wrist of a child. Rather, a proper pool alarm must be attached to the pool and must be able to detect when an object or person weighing 15 pounds or more enters the pool’s water. The sound of the alarm must be at least 50 decibels in strength to ensure that it can be heard from inside a home.

Even if you do not live in Tennessee where Katie Beth’s Law applies, installing a high quality pool alarm is an essential step in ensuring the safety of children and pets around the backyard swimming pool. Pool alarms are generally easy to install, and they can bring enormous peace of mind to homeowners.

Please note that pool alarms, or any other safety device, should not be expected to completely replace responsible adult supervision.

Click to read Katie Beth’s Law.

4 thoughts on “Pool Alarms Required By Law in 2011”

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  2. Beverly M. Payton, M.A., APR

    Kudos to Tennessee for taking a big step to prevent child drownings and submersion injuries. I’m on the board of directors of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and our organization–like many other child safety advocates recommends having several layers of protection to prevent a child from gaining unsupervised access to a pool. The most important layer is a four-sided fence that completely isolates the pool from the house and from the surrounding yard area. A pool alarm is a good secondary layer of protection. But be aware that when the pool alarm goes off, the child is already in the water. An isolation fence will buy you precious time to locate a missing child before they get to the water.

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