The Miami-Dade Commission has introduced an ordinance to reduce the number of pool electrocutions after reports of four children shocked in pools earlier this year. The regulations would require new private pools to use low-voltage lighting systems under water, already a requirement at commercial pools. Commissioner Audrey Edmonson sponsored the rule change on the heels of a CBS 4 report on electrical safety following 7-year-old Calder Sloan’s April 13 death and after a string of non-fatal incidents where people were shocked in local pools, the Miami Herald reported.
The CBS station's report said that many Florida counties may copy Miami-Dade's action, in which the commission is essentially making an addition to the Florida Building Code, much like it did following Hurricane Andrew.
The Miami-Herald quoted Michael Goolsby, director of the county’s code division, as saying that the lower-voltage lights required at public pools are not strong enough to kill during a malfunction. “The electrical shock you would get would not be fatal,’’ he said. “It might hurt, but you would not get paralyzed.” The lower-voltage systems, which he said are now the industry standard, would be required if the owner of a private pool sought permits to replace an existing high-volt light system. High-wattage pool lighting systems typically accommodate 120-V connections, rather than the 15-V connections that are common at public pools.
The reports of shocks also lead North Miami Beach’s city manager, Ana Garcia, to close two pools after inspectors found major issues with the electrical systems. When Garcia heard about the recent cases, she ordered a top to bottom inspection of the city’s pools, according to CBS Miami. Inspectors found electrical boxes in various states of decay and several wires corroding.