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Pool fence damage caused by Irma poses drowning risk

Posted at 5:42 PM, Sep 18, 2017

During and after a hurricane like Irma, we warn about the dangers of drowning, especially in flood waters or rough surf.

However, there’s also another drowning danger you might not have considered.

This one relates to children and all of the pools now exposed by damaged fencing.

“Anytime there is fencing that is down around a body of water, there’s a risk for drowning,” said Anna Stewart with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County. “We just want to make sure that people recognize that it’s a life-safety issue and that it must be taken care of immediately.”

Royal Palm mom Carolynn Girard is not going to let that put her 3 children at risk.

“There’s not enough supplies for everyone to fix their fences,” said Girard.

Her next door neighbor’s fence came down in the storm.

It was the only thing blocking their pool from Girard's yard where her kids play.

“I’m not going to lose my child to a drowning just for having an open pool. There had to be some sort of barrier,” said Girard.

Her neighbor has already called the insurance company. However with long waits and supplies running low for even a temporary repair, this mom took safety in her own hands.

She put up a mesh barrier to block off the pool.

“It’s not a great protection, but it’s something to prevent my 3 year-old from wandering over into the neighbor’s pool."

And with a little damage to the screen on her own pool, she’s keeping an even closer eye on her little ones.

There are other measures you can take to prevent drowning.

For Girard, she has a baby gate that surrounds her pool.

“Barriers are huge and swim lessons, which we’ve always done with all of our children.”

According to Palm Beach County Code Enforcement, having a barrier around your pool is a code requirement.

While they are getting concerns of reported violations, they are trying to be understanding in this post-storm period.