Maynard suggests tips for pool safety this summer



Hello, I am Debra Maynard and I am a candidate to become your new sheriff in next year’s county-wide election.  I will be sharing articles during the months and weeks leading up to Election Day so that you can get to know me better and understand my campaign for accountability and transparency in local law enforcement.

Last month, I wrote a guest column for Historic City News about how law enforcement officers respond to mental illness calls, with an accent on the behavior of the afflicted as well as the responding police officer.

June is National Safety Month. The National Safety Council’s website covers topics such as: work safety, home safety, CPR, Bicycle and Traffic safety (  Living in Florida, one safety issue at the forefront is pool safety.

The Center for Disease Control states children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest risk for accidental drowning, nearly 30% coming from being unsupervised, lack of barriers and location. With this in mind, I wanted to share what the Florida Ordinance for swimming pool barriers requires:

515.29  Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.–

    1. A residential swimming pool barrier must have all of the following characteristics:
      1. The barrier must be at least 4 feet high on the outside.
      2. The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier.
      3. The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.
      4. The barrier must be placed sufficiently away from the water’s edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may have managed to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water.
    2. The structure of an above-ground swimming pool may be used as its barrier or the barrier for such a pool may be mounted on top of its structure; however, such structure or separately mounted barrier must meet all barrier requirements of this section. In addition, any ladder or steps that are the means of access to an above-ground pool must be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access or must be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of this section.
    3. Gates that provide access to swimming pools must open outward away from the pool and be self-closing and equipped with a self-latching locking device, the release mechanism of which must be located on the pool side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap.
    4. A wall of a dwelling may serve as part of the barrier if it does not contain any door or window that opens to provide access to the swimming pool.
    5. A barrier may not be located in a way that allows any permanent structure, equipment, or similar object to be used for climbing the barrier.

Please keep these tips in mind when having children or grandchildren around your pool or even at the beach; supervision is key.  Lifeguards have so many swimmers to watch, don’t let their job become overly burdensome or give you a false sense of security by letting your children go into the water unsupervised.

To find out more about my goal to become St Johns County’s next Sheriff, visit my website, like and follow me on facebook, or you can e-mail me privately at

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Debra Maynard is a Republican Candidate for Sheriff of St Johns County and a former Deputy Sheriff. This message has been approved by the candidate and paid for by the Debra Maynard Campaign.