There has been a rash of swimming pool accidents in Southern California over the last few weeks due to an unrelenting heat wave. Most of the victims have been in “high risk” groups.” (Source.) Even in Russia, Vodka and swimming pools seem to be deadly combination lately. After reading about all of these tragedies, I asked myself how technology and PC tablets could help avoid or prevent these tragedies.
No, I don’t mean things like breathalyzers for drunks. Those are already available and in use in many autos in the U.S., as part of probation requirements for DUI convictions and probation. Besides, I will let landlords and Russians determine if they want to prohibit SWI (“Swimming While Intoxicated”.) Anyways, I could see the day that a bad parent would have his kid blow for him so he could get into the pool all tipsy, so I doubt that would be easy to enforce.
No, what I am talking about is a surveillance system for homeowners with backyard pools that can tap into your PC and give you a chance to monitor and alter the course of a tragic drowning event. We know, for example there are already man overboard systems available for cruise ships, although they are refusing to install them to a large degree. But that is another story for another day.
Take for example the recent incident involving a teen passing away in a Backyard Pool in Garden Grove, California. Orange County authorities, the coroner’s office and Garden Grove police are investigating a weekend drowning death of a 15 year old boy (Source.) According to Garden Grove Police Lt. Ben Stauffer the teen was at a home in Garden Grove where friends said there was a small gathering, and they could not find the teen. After searching the house friends searched the yard and found the teen at the bottom of the swimming pool.
The 15 year old boy was pulled from the pool by a 17 year old girl who was attending the party. The teens name has not been released pending notification of family members. The teen was transported by fire personnel to the hospital where he was pronounced dead Lt. Stauffer said.
Ok, so in this scenario, it is not the typical kid falling into a pool while the parents are in the house enjoying their day it seems. This seems to be more like a case where the parents, or someone is in charge and there is a party happening. No one saw the kid, and no one thought to look at the bottom of the swimming pool.
In a case like this, it is probable that people were going in and out of the pool, and thus, it would be foolish to have a sensor system installed at the pool. But I can see many ways it could have been useful. You see, it appears that the technology exists to monitor and count who is at or near the pool, and to send that data in real time to your tablet, or handheld. Thus, instead of running around looking, a simple text message could automatically tell a parent or guardian where the kid is. How do you ask?
Well in the case of a home-owner, a bracelet or tracking device, coupled with a video surveillance system and tracking device certainly could deliver all of this data. It would also be able to monitor depth and breathing patterns if it wan any good. So far, I cannot find one that does it all, but the technology is definitely there.
The question will boil down to costs versus benefit. It makes sense for homeowners insurance companies to offer rebates and for and for the government to offer tax incentives for people to install a tablet swimming pool monitoring system. I have spoken to several personal injury attorneys who believe it is negligence to not design and market such a system.
At the end of the day, not everyone is a Navy SEAL Combat Swimmer. This means that parents, landlords and government recreational administrators should join with the industry and cooperatively come up with an anti drowning surveillance system that automatically upon the triggers, activates a mechanical net that lifts objects from the entire floor of the pool. I will work on a mock up and put it up on another post.
It just doesn’t make sense to not use a PC tablet in tandem with advanced safety equipment to save people from suffocating in backyard pools. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and making use of tablets in this way can help avoid lawsuits for premises liability negligence, as well as the stress of having caused the death of an innocent.