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Care and prevention of Diabetes

Posted on by Trainer in General, Professional Rescuers, Training Leave a comment

November is American Diabetes Month. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems. Here are 10 prevention tips, followed by current American Red Cross first aid protocol for treatment of diabetic emergencies, to help you stay on track!

1. Reduce Stress – Learn to meditate to improve your blood sugar levels.
2. Step Out – Exercise helps keep your weight and blood sugar under control, and just about everyone can do a brisk daily walk.
3. Eat Right – Follow your food plan. If you don’t have one, ask your doctor about seeing a dietitian who specializes in diabetes.
4. Jet Set – Before you hit the road, get a checkup, pack extra medication in your carry on, and plan your doses around time zone changes.
5. Hang 10 – Drop 10% of your body weight through diet and exercise.

6. Healthy Choices – Swap saturated fats and refined sugar for healthy fats in nuts and sweet whole fruit.

7. See Clearly – Diabetes complications can cause vision loss or blindness. Schedule a full eye exam at least once a year.
8. Take Care of Your Feet – You may not feel foot injuries, so check both feet daily for blisters, cuts, or sores.
9. Show Color – Pack your plate with a palette of greens, yellows, and reds — like spinach, squash, and tomatoes.

10. Learn More – Visit WebMD’s Diabetes Center for news, tips, a blood sugar tracker, and more.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by the body’s inability to process glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. An organ called the pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that causes glucose to be moved from the bloodstream into the cells, where it is used for energy. In a person with diabetes, either the pancreas fails to make enough insulin or the body’s cells are unable to respond to insulin. Either situation causes glucose levels in the bloodstream to increase.

A person with diabetes may manage the condition with insulin injections or oral medications. Diet and exercise also play an important role. To keep blood glucose levels within an acceptable range, food intake, exercise and medication must be balanced. A person with diabetes must follow a well-balanced diet, with limited sweets and fats. The timing of meals and snacks relative to exercise and medication is important as well.

If food intake, exercise and medication are not in balance, the person may experience a diabetic emergency.


■ Hypoglycemia (excessively low blood glucose levels) can result if a person misses a meal or snack, eats too little food, exercises more than usual, vomits or takes too much medication.
■ Hyperglycemia (excessively high blood glucose levels) can result if a person eats too much food, takes too little medication, exercises less than usual or experiences physical or emotional stress.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Emergencies –

A person who is having a diabetic emergency will seem generally ill. He or she may feel dizzy or shake, have a headache, or have cool, clammy skin. The person’s behavior may change (for example, he or she may become irritable, aggressive or argumentative). If the person is experiencing hyperglycemia, his or her breath may have a fruity or sweet odor. Severe hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia can result in confusion, seizures or loss of consciousness and may be life threatening.

First Aid Care for Diabetic Emergencies –

Call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number if the person is unresponsive, not fully awake or having a seizure. While you wait for help to arrive, provide appropriate care. For example, if the person is not fully awake, interview bystanders and conduct a head-to-toe check, then put the person in the recovery position. Make sure the person’s airway is clear of vomit and monitor the person’s breathing until help arrives. If the person is having a seizure, take steps to keep the person safe while you let the seizure run its course.

If the person is known to have diabetes and thinks he or she is having a diabetic emergency, you may be able to help the person by giving him or her some form of sugar. Only offer the person sugar by mouth if the person is responsive, able to answer your questions and able to swallow. Some people may be responsive but not fully awake and therefore not able to safely swallow; in this case, do not attempt to give the person sugar by mouth. Instead, call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number. You should also call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number if you are not able to immediately obtain an acceptable form of sugar. Acceptable forms of sugar include:glucose15

  • Glucose Tablets,
  • Candies that can be chewed,
  • Fruit Juice,
  • Fruit Strips,
  • Regular (non-diet) Soda,
  • Milk,
  • A Spoonful of sugar mixed into a glass of Water.


If it is safe for the person to have sugar by mouth, give 15 to 20 grams of sugar. Check the label on packaged products to determine how much of the package’s contents to give. Even if the person is experiencing hyperglycemia (too much glucose in the bloodstream), giving the person 15 to 20 grams of sugar will not cause additional harm. If possible, have the person check his or her blood glucose level. If the person is not feeling better in about 10 to 15 minutes, call 9-1-1 or the designated emergency number.
Some people with diabetes may have a prescribed glucagon kit that they carry with them to use in case of a severe hypoglycemic emergency. Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream. The glucagon kit is only used when the person is unresponsive or has lost the ability to swallow. Those who spend a significant amount of time with the person (for example, family members, teachers, coaches or co-workers) may receive additional training to learn how to administer a glucagon injection.

Here at Safety Training Pros, we take health matters seriously. Making sure that you understand what Diabetes is, and what the signs and symptoms are, may help you care for a person who is having a diabetic emergency. If you, or a loved one, need first aid training please contact us at or 916-538-6447. We are here for all your safety training needs.




How to care for an Unresponsive Person with an Obstructed Airway

Posted on by Trainer in CPR, CPR for Business, General, Professional Rescuers, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

Have you ever asked yourself, what is the rationale behind the steps for caring for an unresponsive person with an obstructed airway? The American Red Cross has done a great job of explaining this below.

Since the evidence evaluation process in 2005 with a re-affirmation in 2010 and 2015, the care for a person with an obstructed airway that is (or becomes) unresponsive is to perform CPR.  Part of the rationale is based on principles of education and part is based on the science (medicine and physics).  From an educational perspective it is easier to learn and remember fewer skills and by teaching trained responders that when a person is unresponsive and not breathing to perform CPR.  It simplifies the process and increases the likelihood that a responder will remember (and hopefully) be more willing to act.  Because the evidence supports the delivery of chest compressions (chest thrusts) to relieve an obstructed airway, the process of CPR with a slight modification if a breath will not go in is the new standard of care.

I am often asked, “Will the attempt to give a breath push the object further downward?”  The general answer is no, but if it does go far enough it may not immediately matter.  Air will travel the path of least resistance and when a person becomes unresponsive often the muscles in the airway that may be closed or in spasm when the person is awake will relax allowing an attempted breath to pass by the object and provide at least some oxygen or the object may move or be dislodged when the person is lowered to the ground.  The amount of pressure or force to deliver a breath should not be able to move a lodged obstruction, but if it were able to move the object further downward and the object was small enough to pass beyond the vocal cords (the narrowest portion of the airway) it may relieve the complete obstruction or move the object out of the trachea (windpipe) and into most likely the right bronchus allowing air to pass into the left lung (while not ideal, certainly affords time for the problem to be corrected by a healthcare professional).

The other component relates to a person who was unresponsive with an unknown obstruction.  If you were unable to ventilate a person initially and felt there was an obstruction and changed the procedure to skip ventilations all together, it could prove to be a critical error. There are several reasons that a trained responder may be unsuccessful providing ventilations, with an airway obstruction being only one and perhaps the least common.  Proper opening of the airway and seal are common errors that are correctable and should be attempted when a breath does not go in.  Immediately switching to no ventilations would sacrifice the ability to provide oxygen after each set of 30 compressions (30:2 is still considered the standard of care for trained responders over hands-only CPR based on the science (and especially with an airway or breathing cause)).

Are you in need of CPR or First Aid Training? Is it time to get re-certified? Safety Training Pros is the premier safety training experts for individuals, groups, businesses, and government agencies. We provide professional training with high quality safety training materials in an engaging atmosphere so our clients have the life saving skills and knowledge that they need in an emergency. As a Licensed Training Partner of the American Red Cross, ASHI, and Medic First Aid, the leading providers of health and safety training, we can easily and efficiently provide the quality professional training required by all our customers. To speak with a safety expert please call us at 844-900-SAFE or visit us at


Halloween Safety Tips for You and Your Goblins

Posted on by Trainer in General Leave a comment

With Halloween only days away, here are some Ghoulishly good tips to keep everyone safe both on and off the road.

  1. Walk Safely: Always look left, right and left again when crossing. Make sure you walk on sidewalks or paths.

2.  Trick-or-Treat with an Adult:  A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.

3.  Have creative and safe costumes:  When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Also, have your children try on their costumes to make sure they are comfortable and it is easy to move around in.

4.   Drive extra carefully:  Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours. According to, you should slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.

5.   Check all candy: The National Safety Council states that you should tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home. Just remember, “When in doubt, Throw it out!”

Stay Safe and Have a Spooktacular Holiday!


October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month!

Posted on by Trainer in AED, CPR, General, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

Did you know that sudden cardiac arrest takes the lives of over 300,000 Americans each year? According to Mary Newman, SCA Foundation president, “About 500 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest every day and only 30 survive.”

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

According to, Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system, which causes it suddenly and unexpectedly to begin to beat rapidly, then erratically, and finally to stop altogether. When this happens, the heart cannot pump blood effectively. As such, blood flow to the brain is compromised and the victim quickly loses consciousness.

What can we do to increase the survival rate?

  1. Get CPR/AED Certified
  2. Have better access to AED’s

Where can I get this type of Training?

Safety Training Pros is the premier safety training experts for individuals, groups, businesses, and government agencies.We provide professional training with high quality safety training materials in an engaging atmosphere so our clients have the life saving skills and knowledge that they need in an emergency. As a Licensed Training Partner of the American Red Cross, ASHI, and Medic First Aid, the leading providers of health and safety training, we can easily and efficiently provide the quality professional training required by all our customers. This includes, but is not limited to, CPR and AED training. Please call us for more information at 844-900-SAFE or visit us at




CPR Training in High Schools-Bill Passed

Posted on by Trainer in AED, CPR, General, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

“Students can be taught the fundamental life-saving skill of hands-only CPR in 30 minutes or less” EMS1 Staff 

In August, Gov. Jerry Brown was given a month to sign a new bill that would make CPR training a high school graduation requirement. Over the weekend, he signed that bill putting it into effect beginning the 2018-2019 school year. Below is an article, by EMS1 Staff at, that discusses the importance of having this type of training in our schools.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1719 to teach CPR in schools into law Sept. 24. The new law makes California the 35th state to provide CPR training in high schools, along with Washington, D.C.

“As an Emergency Medical Technician for over 30 years, I know that CPR is one of the most important life skills a person can have,” Calif. Assembly member Rodriguez, author of the bill said. “By teaching CPR in high school, we are sending students into the world with essential, life-saving skills.”

High schools that require a course in health education for graduation will begin to offer instruction in performing CPR in the 2018-2019 school year. Students can be taught the fundamental life-saving skill of hands-only CPR in 30 minutes or less.

“I am so glad I learned CPR at a young age because it helped save my friend’s life,” said 13-year-old Skylar Berry, an American Heart Association volunteer who learned CPR at a camp organized by her local Sacramento Metro Fire department. “We should all be prepared to act in the case of an emergency and I’m happy other students will now get the chance to learn CPR.”

Berry was at a birthday party when a group playing in the pool realized one of their friends was at the bottom. As they brought him to the surface, Skylar, who was 11 at the time, remembered the CPR training she’d received and immediately sprang into action. Since then, she’s been a strong advocate for teaching CPR to her fellow classmates and created the “Stayin’ Alive” club at her school to convey the importance of learning the lifesaving skill.

With the passage of AB1719, tragedies like the loss of Debbie Wilson’s daughter can be averted.

“If someone who had been near my daughter at the time of her collapse had known how to conduct cardiopulmonary resuscitation, her life could have been saved,” said Debbie Wilson, AB 1719 advocate and mother of a 17-year-old daughter who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during tennis practice. “I want all students to have a chance to learn this life-saving skill so other families don’t suffer the same heart-break that ours did.”

Supporters of the bill included AHA, the American Red Cross, the California Professional Firefighters, the California State Parent Teacher Association, the California School Boards Association and California School Employees Association.

“So many lives have been saved because of the heroic act of bystanders who performed CPR. On the other hand, there are just as many stories of people who did not make it because no one nearby took action,” said Kathy Magliato, MD, AHA Western States Affiliate Board Member and a cardiothoracic surgeon. “With CPR in Schools, we have the opportunity to create a generation in which teens and young adults in California is trained in CPR as part of their health education and prepared to save lives. AB 1719 will add thousands of qualified lifesavers to our state.”


How to Prevent Electric Shock in Swimming Pools

Posted on by Trainer in Aquatics, Articles Leave a comment

You may have may have seen our recent post on Facebook about the tragic accident that involved a teen, who was electrocuted and drowned, in a pool over Labor Day Weekend. According to Aquatics International, “there have been four known pool electrocutions, two ending in death, since March of this year.”

As originally reported by Rebecca Robledo, in Pool and Spa News, this article discusses the issues surrounding electrical safety in and around pools.

It wasn’t a high-voltage light that killed a Florida child. Electrical professionals don’t think they’re the problem, but point to various poor practices that can place swimmers at risk.

It is the opinion of electrical experts who specialize in pools and spas that it shouldn't take more regulation to prevent electrical incidents like those that have appeared in the media. Rather, they say, the emphasis should be placed on better observation of the codes already in place. The trouble doesn't just stem from lights, they add, but also from improperly installed junction boxes, wrongly wired equipment and even failure to bond seemingly unrelated metallic elements around the pool.

Credit (clockwise from left): Paolo Benedetti; Paolo Benedetti; Alan Brotz It is the opinion of electrical experts who specialize in pools and spas that it shouldn’t take more regulation to prevent electrical incidents like those that have appeared in the media. Rather, they say, the emphasis should be placed on better observation of the codes already in place. The trouble doesn’t just stem from lights, they add, but also from improperly installed junction boxes, wrongly wired equipment and even failure to bond seemingly unrelated metallic elements around the pool.

One issue should be put to rest immediately, lest it cause distraction: It was not a high-voltage light that caused the death of Chris Sloan’s son. Nor does the father make that claim.

On April 13, 2014, 7-year-old Calder Sloan, a deft swimmer and intense liver of life, was in his Miami backyard pool when stray current entered and caused his electrocution. The tragedy made international headlines, even garnering a viral social-media campaign in which people — including some celebrities — posed with a self-portrait Calder had drawn, labeled with his nickname, “Mr. Awesome.” A massive version of the portrait was even beamed on the Times Square JumboTron and the Miami Heat’s American Airlines Arena.

His passing left his parents with a new aim: to advocate for electrically safe pools and spas to spare others the same tragedy. “Because my son involuntarily went away, I’m motivated,” Sloan says. “This is my mission for the rest of my life. It chose us; we didn’t choose it.”

In their advocacy of electrical safety, the Sloans achieved quick success when their own Miami/Dade County and neighboring Broward banned the installation of lights other than those classified as low-voltage according to the National Electrical Code. But with these victories and the media coverage surrounding it, Chris Sloan became pigeonholed as an advocate of low-voltage lighting in pools and spas. Media misinterpretation and even an interview misstep by one of his own allies portrayed him as claiming that Calder would be alive if his pool had had a low-voltage light. Various stories behind the incident’s cause have circulated around the Sunshine State, so when discussing the possibility of high-voltage-light bans, many first want to know if the more traditional technology led to the incident. If not, they figure, why is the father trying to impose this change on everybody?

In fact, the pool had low-voltage lighting — which did not produce the fatal current. “All I can say is there was an electrical short in our house, on our property,” says Sloan, who must choose his words carefully due to pending litigation. “And … the fail-safes and protections failed.” The lawsuit alleges fault in the bonding, grounding and lighting design.

Since lights and pumps were first introduced to pools, electrocution has been an issue. Some claim it is the second-highest cause of death in pools and spas, after drowning. But as with so many things, reliable statistics are not available. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 14 such fatalities between 2002 and 2009. However, the accounts of some incidents are somewhat unspecific or based on hearsay. A portion of the fatalities resulted from wires or energized electrical devices falling or being dropped in the vessel. This leads some to believe that the true incidence of deaths caused by faulty electrical systems is likely lower. On the other hand, some suspect these occurrences go under-reported: As with suction-entrapment fatalities, death certificates often list the cause as drowning without specifying electrocution, and incident reports often are incomplete.

But, especially for those such as Sloan who have suffered a loss due to pool and spa electrocution, the point is that these deaths seem avoidable.

In their argument against high-voltage light bans, industry advocates have said the issue expands past high- vs. low-voltage. A true examination of electrical safety merits a holistic approach, they say, one that accounts not only for safeguards surrounding the vessel, but those around the home as well, because current can travel to the pool from outside its immediate area.

On this, Sloan and the industry see eye to eye.

In this article, industry and electrical professionals discuss whether high-voltage illumination should be banned from pools and spas, where problems exist, and what can be done to further safeguard installations.

Question of illumination

Pool and spa lights make an easy culprit because they are immersed in the water.

Though the National Electrical Code has instituted numerous safeguards to prevent 120-volt incandescents from emitting current into water, low-voltage lights have long been considered another safety measure. For this technology, 120 volts flow from the main power source to a low-voltage transformer, where the power is “stepped down” to the lower levels.

Because these lights operate at a very low voltage, they are less inherently dangerous when taken on their own. Some believe the 120 volts generated by an incandescent light can introduce a fatal charge, whereas the power from low-voltage lights, generally 12 volts, can injure but not kill. (However, what constitutes a fatal voltage is largely up for question because it depends on many factors, such as body mass and distance from the source. In addition, the phenomenon of electroshock drowning doesn’t require electrocution, but simply immobilization.)

“A 12-volt light if installed properly. … Is it safer than a 120-volt light? I’d be a fool if I didn’t say yes, it’s safer,” says Alan Brotz, owner/president of Swim Systems Inc. in Oviedo, Fla., and an electrician who specializes in pools and spas. “That’s not to say that a 120-volt light installed properly with a routinely tested GFCI is not safe — it still has been proven to be safe.”

But low-voltage lights don’t come with a guarantee of safety or operate in a vacuum. They are not foolproof. Like any electrical component, they require correct installation, with the appropriate transformer and wiring, as well as bonding and grounding if they sit in a metal niche. Without this care, more than the 12 volts can get through the system and, should a short occur, into the water.

Just as important, an improperly wired low-voltage system still can function as a path for stray current generated from another source: As it seeks to complete the circuit, the current could travel through the grounding wire, for instance, to water.

“Even in recent history, in some cases the light’s been blamed, and really didn’t have anything to do with it,” says Bill Hamilton, Ph.D., president of Austin-based engineering and architectural firm Hamilton and Associates, and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ principal representative on the committee that writes the NEC’s pool and spa section. “The ground wire just happened to be the route for electric current that was being produced by a short circuit somewhere else.”

By the same token, many industry professionals reiterate Brotz’s statement that 120-volt lights are safe if installed correctly, with the appropriate components, bonding and grounding. For this reason, they believe code should not ban high-voltage lights.

So far, the committee that writes the National Electrical Code has agreed. “This technical committee feels that with the voltage limitation 150 volts, and with all the other requirements such as ground fault circuit interrupters, third-party testing and listing [of certain components], that these result in safe installations,” says Gil Moniz, a senior electrical specialist with the National Fire Protection Association, the organization that writes the NEC.

Those in favor of banning high-voltage lights are uncomfortable relying on the installer’s acumen and safeguards such as ground fault circuit interrupters. “GFI circuit breakers can fail,” says Irv Chazen, Builder’s Committee chairman and government liaison for the Associated Swimming Pool Industries of Florida.

But some observers believe the question supersedes data. If low-voltage lighting will reduce the chances of electrocution, they ask, then why not require it?

“I don’t want to see anybody get electrocuted or shocked,” Chazen says. “It’s totally unnecessary, so I don’t see why the world shouldn’t go to 12-volt lights.”

Others see the issue as a matter of personal responsibility — and calculated risk

Mike Holt, a nationally known consultant and instructor on electrical systems, is building a pool in his own Florida backyard. When he saw the contractors creating niches in the shell, he immediately informed them there would be no underwater lighting.

“I am the kind of person who measures risk,” he says. “And there is no justification in my mind to risk putting electricity inside the water of a swimming pool. I understand the risk is almost insignificant, but it’s not worth it.”

But, of course, underwater lighting addresses other safety issues, such as the ability to distinguish plane changes in the shell or detect someone in distress. To address those concerns, Holt considers low-voltage lighting the best option.

It’s a matter of personal choice for him. “If I were going to do lighting, it would be 12-volt, but it doesn’t have to be [in the] code,” he says.

Truth be told, this debate may time out within a decade or less, in part because of the energy-efficiency movement. LED lights powered through solid-state technology usually operate more efficiently than incandescents, plus they incorporate fun features such as programmed color changing, so they may dominate the market in the next decade, Hamilton predicts.

Additionally, some products entering the market — high and low voltage — incorporate new barriers to stray current, such as all-plastic niches or hermetically sealed single assemblies. Some of the low-voltage versions don’t require a grounding wire, eliminating another avenue for current to travel into the water.

Outside the light

Individuals on both sides of the lighting argument agree that increasing electrical safety in pools and spas extends past the niche.

“There are lots of different places where line voltage could get into the water, and just focusing on the light is not going to solve all those other issues,” Brotz says.

There is only so much that can be accomplished through code. Like most, the NEC only governs new installation, not maintenance.

In Hamilton’s observations inspecting pool and spa electrical systems, the light itself was rarely the problem. Instead, he’s found incidents related to inadequate, damaged or absent bonding in concrete pools, as well as concurrent sources of stray current related to the wiring in other premises. “It’s generally a problem somewhere else that creates the current on the ground wire, and a nonexistent or deficient bonding system that lets it get into the pool water,” he says.

Bonding and grounding are the most important safeguards against electrocution in pools and spas. But some professionals don’t know the difference between these processes. Contractors who believe they are the same thing may only install one.

Grounding protects people against a possible fault in the system by electrically attaching equipment to earth ground, which is at the lowest “electrical potential,” referred to as 0 Volt potential. If there’s a fault, or short, the circuit breaker should trip and turn off the equipment.

To ground a piece of equipment, installers run a properly sized wire from the equipment, through the same conduit as the current-carrying conductors and to the circuit breaker panel. Finally, the wire attaches to the ground bus bar in the circuit breaker panel, which itself is connected to earth ground through a combination of ground rods, cold water pipes, building foundation steel, etc.

To bond a component means to electrically tie it with all specified elements, such as the pump, motor, ladder and even the water, to create a “bonding grid,” and minimize the difference in voltage from component to component. (Voltage also is referred to as potential.) If one piece of equipment becomes energized from a fault in the system, then there is a difference in potential from one element to the other, causing current from the more energized component to seek a path to the less energized component, in order to equalize. If a person steps in the way, he or she could become that path, or conductor.

A bonding system includes a No. 8 wire that runs from one element to the next, connecting to each on an often manufacturer-provided bonding lug. The wire also should attach to the pool steel in at least 4 locations and to a perimeter bonding ring under the deck, or to reinforcing steel in the deck, and to all permanently attached metallic objects within 5 feet of the pool’s edge. The wire runs through the earth, not always inside a conduit.

Installing these systems requires the use of proper components, from wires to connectors, and the ability to adapt to different settings and equipment brands. Observers such as Brotz believe these skills are in all too short supply in the pool and spa field.

If the solution rests with government mandates, it’s in ensuring the qualifications of those who work on pool and spa electrical systems, he says. In states such as his (Florida), code requires that licensed electricians perform the initial installation of a pool or spa’s electrical system. However, those who perform repairs and replacements go unaddressed.

Brotz sees mis-installed lights, but has witnessed hundreds, or even thousands, of cases where pumps, heat pumps, wires and other components were installed incorrectly. The opportunity for error comes with the installation and the repair/replacement of lights and equipment.

“I have come to the point where I strongly believe there needs to be an electrical certification class for pool people who touch electrical work,” he says.

A task such as changing a motor may seem simple; however, grounding and bonding wires must be installed correctly, with the right connectors.

“I have seen hundreds of motors that have been replaced by pool professionals with the ground wires or bond wires missing,” Brotz says. “The dangerous part of that scenario is when the homeowner turns on the pump, it runs, and they don’t know whether it’s installed safely or not. It just works, and that’s all they know.”

Errors in the field

Mistakes that electrical professionals see in the field range from the clearly wrong to the more off-base. But even seemingly small misses can create an opening for current to escape its assigned channels.

Properly installing these systems requires an in-depth knowledge of wire types and sizes, connectors, transformers and junction boxes. The water and mostly outdoor locations create their own challenges, which often must be met by special components.

Some of the obvious errors could have been performed by homeowners, their friends or handymen, or inexperienced professionals. A prime example of this can be found in the alteration of lights.

Hamilton relates the story of a California inspector who found two installations where the

insides of the light were removed and replaced with ballast transformers and mercury vapor lamps. “When you put a ballast in a mercury vapor light, you’re looking at well in excess of 120 volts or even 150 volts,” he says.

It seems the goal was increased brightness; however, the alteration flew in the face of the NEC, not only because the voltage exceeded the 150-volt limit, but also because it involved components not listed for use with the lights.

Other alterations may come in the form of inappropriate splicing. The NEC prohibits splicing of underwater wire connections, so pool and spa lights must be powered by a continuous cord, generally the 50-, 100- or 150-foot one supplied by the manufacturer and sealed to the back of the fixture. To replace a light, therefore, the technician must remove the entire cord and pull the new one in place, a process that can become frustrating when the line gets stuck. To work around this, some installers drain the pool below the light niche, cut the existing cord and strip wires back so they can splice in wires from the new light. They’ll then wrap the wires with tape or dip them in epoxy, believing they’ve provided a watertight connection.

“They’ve created an immense hazard for the homeowner,” Brotz says.

More common mistakes involve the choice of components. For instance, connectors, transformers and other parts of a pool or spa electrical system must be corrosion-resistant to withstand the chemicals and other pool- and spa-related substances that can leach into the soil or hover in the air around pumps, chlorinators and other equipment.

“A pool environment can be a lot more corrosive than just an environment out in the dirt somewhere,” Hamilton says. “You can have connecting devices that are listed for use underground that won’t last a month in a pool environment.”

Because of this pervasive problem, the upcoming 2017 NEC Article 680, currently undergoing an update, likely will require that appropriate connectors be listed for use in corrosive environments and that manufacturers disclose the materials from which they are made.

Higher-quality GFCIs also should be used to withstand the more aggressive environment. “When you start putting cheap ground fault circuit outlets as part of the system and they’re sitting in the elements, eventually they’re going to fail,” says David Peterson, president of San Diego-based Watershape Consulting. “And if nobody’s testing them, then you’ve got a problem.”

To help mitigate the most common homeowner error — failing to perform GFCI tests once a month — new, self-testing GFCI receptacles are entering the market. If they pass, they will automatically reset.

Misunderstandings also occur regarding the selection of transformers and junction boxes. While the NEC specifies junction boxes should be listed for pool or spa use by a third-party testing agency, some local jurisdictions don’t. It’s generally safer to follow the NEC here, Hamilton says.

In addition, low-voltage lights require a transformer or power supply listed for that application. These must have a grounded isolation barrier for the high-voltage winding or must be double-insulated. An incorrect transformer for low-voltage lighting increases the hazard of sending 120 volts to the pool light in the case of a failure.

The same holds true for pool and spa controllers.

“That transformer is supposed to be approved to the same UL standard so that it doesn’t short out and send line voltage [out to] the circuit board,” Peterson says. “If it did, that line voltage could go back through the wire and go right into the water.”

Missing a step

In some cases, seemingly minor steps are overlooked during the installation or replacement of constituents in an electrical system.

One of the most common examples of this occurs during the replacement of pumps and other equipment, when technicians sometimes fail to connect bonding or grounding wires that are already present and attached to the original equipment. If the item doesn’t come with a bonding lug, for instance, or if the new bonding lug looks different than the one on the original equipment, the technician may assume it isn’t necessary and not attach it.

In other cases, multiple bonding wires are present, with only one bonding lug on the equipment. Some installers then attach just one wire and leave the others loose, figuring that a pump, for example, only needs one bonding wire. However, these extra wires connect to something on the other side, likely another piece of equipment in the bonding grid, and are intended to attach to the component being replaced to ensure all appropriate components are included in the grid.

Liquid-tight conduit and connectors also may seem like minor parts and often are missing or not connected correctly. These tube-like jackets and their connectors serve as a barrier from surrounding moisture and protect wires from rubbing against edges on equipment, transformers, junction boxes and other components with corners.

When wires enter a transformer, for instance, they should not simply be strung through the opening. Instead, they should be placed in liquid-tight connectors so the edges of the opening can’t rub against the wire and wear away the insulation. If these wires became exposed, they could electrify items that contact it, including metal doors of the housings.

Pumps are supposed to have a liquid-tight connector screwed into the back of the motor, with a liquid-tight conduit connecting to it. Often, when pumps and motors are replaced, these items go missing, perhaps when the original is damaged and the technician doesn’t have a replacement on hand.

“So there are two hot [120-volt] conductors coming into the motor without protection around the conductors,” Brotz says. “If those conductors touch the side of the metal opening that they go into to get into the motor, now the motor casing becomes energized and you have a serious shock or electrocution hazard.”

If the pump is bonded and grounded properly, that minimizes the hazard because the breaker will trip; however, this safeguard should be done observed.

Serious mis-wire

Certain components, such as low-voltage transformers and electrical panels for control systems, combine low- and high-voltage wiring, which are meant to remain separate from each other.

That is why these housings contain individual compartments. But some professionals cross wires or even run them in the same conduit or enclosure, creating a serious hazard: If a high-voltage conductor were to become hot enough to melt the insulation of a low-voltage wire, then the bare wires could touch, causing high voltage to transfer into wires intended to send low voltage. High voltage then could be sent to the low-voltage light.

Twelve-volt wiring and 120-volt wiring should never occupy the same space, with one exception: inside the enclosure where the low voltage is created.

In a similar vein, while some lights may be low-voltage, their transformers hold high- and

low-voltage wiring. Here again, they each have their place: Low-voltage wiring must reside on the low-voltage side of the transformer and vice versa. To get this backward is to send potentially hundreds of volts to the lights.

“It takes 120 volts and turns it into 1,200,” Brotz says. “Instead of knocking it down by a factor of 10, the transformer is now a step-up transformer.”

Oftentimes, this mishap will damage the transformer due to a blown thermal fuse, so the high voltage never reaches the light; however, caution would dictate that it be done correctly.



National Preparedness Month

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September is National Preparedness Month. Are You Ready? Safety Training Pros, has trained thousands to be prepared in case of an emergency. Classes include CPR, First Aid, AED, Lifeguarding and much, much more. We will even come to your place of business to work on EAP’s and Evacuation plans. Take a look at this great article from FEMA about an emergency communication plan.

California New AED Laws Senate Bills 658 and 287

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An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume in a heart in sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function. If it’s not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death. AED’s make it possible for more people to respond to medical emergencies where defibrillation is required. Because they are portable and easy to use, they can be used by nonmedical people. They should be a part of your emergency response plan that also includes the use of 9-1-1 and prompt delivery of cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

There are a variety of law regarding AEDs. Recently, California has enacted two, new AED laws (Senate Bills 658 and 287), the second of which was just chaptered into California law October 2, 1015.

S.B. 658 amends section 1714.21 of the CA Civil Code and section 1797.196 of the CA Health and Safety Code to substantially reduce the requirements placed upon AED owners to qualify for Good Samaritan protection in the state.  Most notably, the new law eliminates the need for a physician to oversee a company’s AED program. This will significantly drop cost of ownership as well as reduce the inconvenience factor of owning an AED. In addition, the new law reduces the frequency with which AED owners need to check their devices and pares back documentation rules.

S.B. 287 installs mandates across a sweeping array of building types (assembly, business, educational, factory, institutional, mercantile, and residential) that, effective 1/1/17, will require AEDs in all new construction, generally subject to an occupancy threshold of 200 people.

For more information about purchasing an AED for your workplace, or to arrange training for your staff, call 844-900-SAFE.

Hypoxic Blackout in Aquatic Activities is Deadly Serious

Posted on by SafetyPros in Aquatics, General, Lifeguard, Professional Rescuers, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

The practices of hyperventilation preceding underwater swimming and extended breath-holding in the water are dangerous and potentially deadly activities. These activities can put the body in a state of hypoxia—a condition in which the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. It is our goal to educate those that we teach about the risks of hypoxia in the water and help ensure that they do not engage in behavior that could result in loss of consciousness and death. This includes lifeguards, Water Safety instructors and swim coaches, participants in a learn-to-swim program and their parents as well as the general public who engage in aquatic activities.
The result of these activities is referred to by some as “shallow water blackout.” The use of this terminology in these cases is misleading since water depth is not a Swim Coachfactor in the body’s response to hyperventilation and extended breath-holding. Shallow water blackout is the medical condition that can result as a deep water diver returns to surface and blacks out in water that is typically less than 5’ deep. There are specific precautions and prevention strategies for this condition.
In an effort to be more clear and accurate, Safety Training Pros will not use the term shallow water blackout. In our training programs and public education, we use terminology that describes the dangerous behaviors that should be prevented—voluntary hyperventilation preceding underwater swimming and extended breath-holding. For simplicity, we refer to this condition as hypoxic blackout.
Water Safety

Lifeguards, instructors and coaches are trained to be alert and prevent swimmers attempting to hyperventilate and engage in extended breath-holding activities. Lifeguards are taught to respond quickly to any individual who is motionless in the water for any reason, including loss of consciousness. Water Safety instructors are also taught to limit participants to a single inhalation whenever they ask participants to hold their breath and submerge, and to set safety limits whenever setting up activities that involve underwater swimming. Being confident and comfortable underwater is an essential aquatic skill. Knowing what breath holding techniques are unsafe is important in exercising good judgment for safe skill practice and supervision of underwater aquatic activities.


Stay safe this summer and remember When Every Second Counts, Your Training Matters!

5 Lifeguard Interview Tips – Get the job you want!

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A lifeguard job interview is just the beginning of one of the most fun, rewarding and profitable summer jobs that a young adult can have. From fun in the sun to learning lifesaving skills, lifeguarding proves to be a gratifying way to earn money during the warm summer months. But before you can take a seat in a lifeguard chair, you must apply, interview and train. Interviewing for a job like lifeguarding may seem a bit intimidating, possibly even frightening, so here are some tips that will help ease your lifeguard job interview anxiety.

  1. American Red Cross Aquatic TrainingBe confident. If you do not believe in yourself, no one will. Before the lifeguard job interview begins, take a few deep breaths and relax. Being calm will be important for a successful interview, but it will also show the recruitment officer that you can stay calm and focused in a stressful situation.
  2. Display good manners and be polite. Lifeguards interact with a variety of pool goers on a daily basis, so being personable and respectful to the interviewer is a must. Even if you are young, you will need to conduct yourself in a mature manner. The recruiter will see that you can interact with people professionally and respectfully, no matter the situation.
  3. Be flexible with your availability. The more hours you have available, the more flexibility you express for various shifts or days of the week, the more your potential employer will want to work with you.
  4. Dress up. Be sure to dress in appropriate attire for a lifeguard job interview. Even though you are applying for a job that only requires casual attire, it is smart to dress in a clean and professional manner to put your best foot forward – without the flip flops.
  5. Be organized and neat. Have your application, resume, and any certifications you have, in a neat and tidy package. If anything is handwritten, make sure the writing is neat and legible. On the job, you’ll be expected to complete reports and you want to showcase your ability to articulate and write a solid performance!

Still nervous about the lifeguard job interview?

Get your Lifeguard training at Safety Training Pros. Our instructors will ensure your rescue skills are tight and you have a solid understanding of your Lifeguard responsibilities. We will help prepare you for the interview and the job!

After training, contact Safety Training Pros about our Lifeguard Intern Program. We’ll make sure your rescue and water skills are awesome, you’ll get valuable in water practice time, and you may even have an opportunity to work on your leadership and coaching skills. When you do a great job, you could end up with a strong recommendation for hire, job placement assistance, or a reference letter.  This may be the edge you need to secure your spot with your new employer!

Remember everyone has to go through the same interview and hiring process as you. Although the thought of interviewing for a job as a lifeguard can be stressful, it is well worth the effort. Remember to be confident, polite, flexible, presentable, and neat. You’ll see that securing a job as a lifeguard isn’t so scary after all.