Pool safety

Given the statistics on child drownings in backyard pools it seems incredible that council inspections on all new pools is only about to become mandatory in April.

Under the new requirements, which follow the release of a government discussion paper in April last year, councils will be required to inspect 80% of new swimming pools within two weeks of construction, with the remainder to be inspected within two months of completion.

What is yet to be decided is what to do with existing pools in the community.

When the discussion paper came out a number of councils in the region expressed concern about the cost of having to inspect every pool every four years.

The safety intent was not disputed, just who was going to pay for an extra full-time employee to do the inspections, given an average council could have more than a 1000 backyard pools.

That question is likely to be decided in the later half of this year along with whether to implement a register of all pools and whether to make inspections at change of tenancy and the installation of CPR signs beside the pool mandatory.

However, with 40 children aged from infancy to four years involved in near drowning incidents each year in SA, and four of those children dying, this issue is too important to ignore.

Hot topic

The scorching temperatures currently being experienced across the Hills, indeed much of south-eastern Australia, have become the focus of almost all discussion.

Escaping the heat is at the forefront of just about everyone’s minds.

Keeping cool is a wise precaution as being caught out in such extreme temperatures can quickly become a killer – especially for the very young and old.

These furnace-like conditions also concentrate the mind about the danger of bushfire – particularly among those who live in the Hills.

These conditions are also a salient reminder that, despite how clever we humans like to think we are, we are close to powerless when the natural world moves to extremes.

If the winds pick up from the north or a dry lightning storm sweeps across the district, the region could be transformed from just uncomfortably hot to a blazing death trap in a matter of minutes.

Whether that happens or not is pure luck. Nothing else.

It is worth carefully considering the difficulties facing future generations if the heatwave we are currently experiencing becomes a more regular occurrence.