The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established to ensure that disabled Americans could access public places, like hotels and schools, without difficulty. The ADA released 2010 accessibility requirements for public swimming pools, wading pools, and spas to make more public facilities handicap accessible.
If you have a public pool, you will need to make the pool ADA compliant, to the point where accessibility is “readily achievable,” meaning the change can be accomplished without much difficulty or expense. Luckily, there is a fairly easy way to make many pools handicapped accessible.
The major challenge that many handicapped people face in accessing a pool is the stairs or ladder which serve as the pool’s entrance and exit. There are two main ways to increase your pool’s accessibility: By installing a sloped entry, or installing a pool lift.
Installing a sloped entry, especially if your pool doesn’t already have one, can be expensive and will require down time while the pool is drained for the construction. Additionally, a sloped entry requires space, which may make this an impractical option for your pool.
Pool lifts are often more practical solutions.
Choosing the Pool Lift for Your Facility
When it comes to purchasing a pool lift, there are a few things that you should know.
Choose a Fixed Lift
According to the 2010 ADA accessibility requirements for pools, a pool lift must be fixed, or attached to a pool’s side. Portable pool lifts are popular options, but if you purchase a portable lift then you must have a way to attach it to the pool’s side so that it is “fixed.”
Don’t Get Rid of Your Portable Lift
If you purchased a portable lift before March 15, 2012, and the lift does not affix to the side of the pool, you can still use it. You have to keep the lift in position during all operational hours. If you bought a portable lift after March 15, 2012, and you come across a way to affix it to the side of the pool (such as if the manufacturer releases a kit to affix the lift), then you must do so.
Train Your Staff
Once you do purchase and install a pool lift, that lift needs to remain in working condition. Your staff also need to know how to operate the lift. Be sure to educate all staff on lift operation and general maintenance, like how to change and charge lift batteries.