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Accela celebrates Building Safety Month with resource to increase pool and water safety

The summer pool season is nearly here, and with it, you can almost hear the chirp of the lifeguard’s safety whistle: “Breet! No running! Breet! No splashing! Breet! No diving near the shallow end! Breeeet! Only 30 to 50 parts per million of Cyanuric Acid allowed in the pool — well, maybe strike that last one.

Even so, when it comes to safety, pool care and conditions are critical. With young people all over the country anticipating summer break, pool season is about to open with a splash, presenting a crucial opportunity to focus on safety best practices

Whether most residents know it or not, health departments are inspecting swimming pools ahead of the busy season for things like the right chemical levels and safe chemical storage, and building departments also do their part in reviewing plans for new pools, ensuring the right safeguards are in place to prevent injury or harm.

The month of May highlights efforts such as this, with it being “Building Safety Month,” a campaign run by the International Code Council (ICC) each year to highlight the importance of following the latest rules and regulations for building and public safety. This week, the third week in the campaign, highlights a few key areas centered around water, including safe drinking water, and safety for swimming pools and spas.

The ICC has a whole host of resources on how to prevent water from getting contaminated through improper backflow, and tips for reducing your water-waste. They even have their own podcast, which this week, talks about proper back-flow devices and cross-connection programs –  something Ventura County, CA, an Accela user, has tackled for its Environmental Health department’s cross-connection program; leveraging our software to streamline its test reporting operations, and allowing testers to self-report results in an online portal.

The Accela Civic Solution for Environmental Health — which supports water safety regulation — modernizes the application submission, plan review, inspection, and permit issuance process. It digitizes and automates work-flow functions for employees, facility owners and mobile workers. This helps to eliminate paper in the permitting process and allows health departments to focus on what matters most: protecting public health.

This year, the ICC also chose to highlight the importance of pool safety. On the website for the ICC campaign, the group calls out the sad fact that “drowning is a leading cause of death for children under the age of five,” and offers some suggestions on how this can be avoided, including fencing, alarmed gates, and active adult supervision of children in pool and spa areas.

Not only can the built environment improve pool and spa safety with building department oversight, ring 2000 – 2014, there were 493 disease outbreaks associated with treated recreational water that caused at least 27,219 cases of reported health issues and eight deaths. The same report highlighted the importance of developing a strong health inspection and regulatory program, and encouraged health departments to have more public outreach campaigns about when to stay home from the pool to avoid the spread of illness.

The ICC Building Safety Month campaign continues through the rest of the month, highlighting things like how homeowners can work with contractors towards the shared goal of safety, and public safety innovation.

Find out more about how Accela customers have leveraged the Accela Civic Platform to improve their building and environmental health inspection and permitting programs here.

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