Keith Connors

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Tampa pool inspections to prevent drownings in Hillsborough County. School is nearly out for the summer, and that means pool season is about to kick into high gear. In Hillsborough County, a collaborative effort is underway to prioritize pool safety and prevent tragic accidents. To tackle this issue, Hillsborough County has partnered with Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, and the Children’s Board. Together, they aim to raise awareness and prevent pool-related injuries and drownings, especially among children.

The grim reality is that even a single child lost to drowning is one too many. Shockingly, since 2014, the Tampa Bay area has witnessed 97 child drowning deaths. However, it’s essential to recognize that every one of these incidents could have been prevented. Dexter Lewis, a representative from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, emphasizes the preventable nature of these tragedies. He stresses the urgent need for action, citing that there were eight confirmed drownings in the county last year alone. Sadly, this year has already seen three drownings, including an incident involving the 2-year-old daughter of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett.

To enforce safety standards, code enforcement officers are conducting inspections of both public and private pools on Hillsborough County’s inaugural Safe Pools Day. Officer Larry Hoffman shares the gravity of their task, emphasizing that it is a matter of life and death. During inspections, Hoffman ensures that pool barriers are intact and self-locking gates are out of children’s reach. It’s worth noting that even an inch of water can pose a drowning risk for young children, depending on their size.

In addition to Tampa pool inspections, Lewis encourages parents to equip themselves with CPR skills and enroll their children in swimming lessons. Remarkably, even at six months old, children can begin learning fundamental survival skills in the water, such as turning onto their backs to breathe. While code enforcement violations can result in citations and fines, the primary focus of officers is education and compliance. They aim to ensure that pool owners understand and implement the necessary safety measures to protect lives. NewsChannel8