During Hurricane Irma I was disappointed that local officials gave misleading information when it came to preparing local swimming pools. Central Florida had a high ranking local official telling pool owners to drain large portions of water from their pool.
When draining a pool, water table is key. The water table cannot be determined until a perk hole is dug next to the pool deck.
Two days after the storm I received several calls about pools that came out of the ground, and I instantly knew people listened to this misinformation.
When I visited two of these pools, they confirmed my suspicion telling me they heard the news and followed their instructions. To correct one of the locations will cost the homeowner more than $85K to remove the pool and start over. The other location will be more than $55K to repair.
This is a big financial blow to the owners since the replacement of the swimming pools are going to have to be paid out of pocket. Unfortunately, homeowner’s insurance will not pay for these mistakes.
Another statement from officials involved placing outdoor furniture in the swimming pool without explaining it should only be PVC type furniture. Placing metal furniture in your pool may create stains on the pool finish. In addition, solar panels or the importance of them being turned off wasn’t mentioned in these news conferences.
FSPA did a great job of providing the correct information to members and news outlets just before Hurricane Irma was supposed to hit the state. FSPA sent out an e-newsletter to the membership with information on what to do with pools before and after the storm so they could share it with their customers. FSPA then shared it on their website and social media pages. They also shared their hurricane tips video that received more than 2,000 views. Combining this with additional local support can broaden the impact and prevent these mishaps. Perhaps a committee comprised of experts representing different parts of the state can put together a guide for pool care during severe weather. When weather concerns threaten the state a representative in each area could contact their local City and County officials, as well as news stations, with this complete and correct guide of information.
Ideally, this information should be given before Hurricane season begins so homeowners can prepare before a severe weather event. While FSPA had shared all of their hurricane preparation tips on June 1, the start of Hurricane Season, it made a real impact when shared again when Hurricane Irma was posing a threat to the state.
If our message is consistent throughout the state, consumers will have correct guidelines from reliable sources.
For more information how to prepare your pools for inclement weather, visit the Pools and Weather page on FSPA’s website.