There has been much confusion in the past surrounding the laws for swimming pool security in France.
Olivier from TPM pool management, Maureillas, reminds us that all pools, whether they be private or on premises which are rented out, should have a safety system fitted. This covers all in-ground and partially in ground pools.
Failure to respect the security rules and regulations could result in a heavy fine and criminal charges of death by negligence, should a fatal accident occur.
Olivier outlined the different kinds of security available….
Pool owners have a choice of five safety systems
1. Alarms (alarmes)
Without any doubt the cheapest option on the market, there are 3 main types of alarm. ( * see below for latest info)
Les Alarmes periphériques (Perimeter alarms)
Very swish with infrared beam which forms a perimeter “fence”. However,these alarms are not recommended for pools where the owner is not in permanent residence as the alarm will sound off if the beam is interrupted by animals.
These alarms consist of small poles, each with two infrared transmitters and two receivers, situated around the pool area. These poles communicate between all the poles around the pool. The leading pole (containing all the mains setting controls) emits an infrared beam to the other poles forming a perimeter fence. The alarm will sound off if the beam is interrupted.
Les Alarmes d’immersions (Submerged pool alarms)
Simple, cheap and easy to fit, these alarms work by sensor tubes. If a body. falls into the pool, it causes an acoustic wave which in turn triggers sensors situated in the tube, and sets off the alarm sirens. However, these alarms can easily be triggered by a strong gust of Tramontane if the pool is exposed !
Ideal for secondary residences, as they are not set off by the wind, these alarms work with a sensor based poolside detector of 15m and can be adapted to pools up to 20x10m. A little more expensive but the best alarm option for peace of mind.
Alarms do not compensate for parental supervision
AFNOR (association française de normalisation) – trading standards
The safety standards NF P 90-307 set by AFNOR state that:
-all systems must be able to operate 24 hours a day regardless of weather conditions.
-the activation and deactivation devices should be kept out of reach of children under 5 or should require 2 different simultaneous actions.
-alarms should reacts within 12 seconds. Large pools may require more than one alarm.
This must be at least 1.20m high with a child-proof opening and closing
system and be installed between 1m and 3m from the edge of the pool.
3. Reinforced PVC pool cover (bache)
This should have supporting bars along the sides and across the width and be strong enough to hold the weight of a child. Recommended for pool up to 10 x 5 metres – any bigger than that and you will need a big strong man (or woman !) to open and close it ! Helps to keep the water clean and conserve the heat.
4. Sliding glass cover (abri) low, medium and high.
Be careful ! There are many types of “abris” on the market which can vary enormously in price. The best and easiest to use is probably the “abri télescopique” An expensive option and arguably the least safe, as owners can easily forget to slide the doors closed when not present.
5. Electric or solar energy shutters
Very easy to use but not suitable for all pool shapes and not cheap ! Check with a pool professional to see if these are suitable for your pool.
All of these forms of security should conform to the required standards and be accompanied by a ‘certificat de conformité