Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lightning and Indoor Pools.....

Found out today that one of the local swimming pools that I swim at has a closure policy when there is lightning and thunder about.....how bizarre would it be that you could get electrocuted while swimming in an indoor pool! Apparently this is the policy for loads of pools around the country, I guess it is better safe than sorry but I wonder if the same thing applies to someone showering in their own home.

The science behind it is rather far-fetched....

"Safety “experts” point out that a bolt of lightning hitting a nearby utility pole COULD travel via the electrical circuits to the pool’s pump and throughout the water. In such a scenario persons swimming in the indoor pool as well as persons within a damp pool enclosure COULD be electrocuted. You can search the databases of indoor pool deaths and those of deaths by lightning compiled ever since such statistics have been recorded and fail to find even a single death resulting from this scenario. However, it COULD happen, they warn! Don’t think for a minute that risk assessment in this situation is based on mortality experience. It is purely hypothetical. "

"The inconvenient fact is that there has not been even one death recorded as a result of swimming indoors during a lightning storm. "We could find no reports of deaths or injuries in indoor pools related to lightning causes," says Richard Kithil of the National Lightning Safety Institute and Kevin Johnston, a senior consultant. "

"It is not surprising that lightning, which strikes almost anywhere, would at some time randomly strike an indoor pool. If you happen to die in an indoor pool you will become immortalized as the first person on record to depart this earth as a result of being in an indoor swimming pool when lightning struck."

Now that is something to think about next time you are swimming indoors during a thunder and lightning storm. The trouble I have is that when we do have a storm I normally head to the pool because I can't go out and ride or run!


Anonymous said...

weird..i just asked the guard the other day at Mt. Vernon Rec center and he said they DONT close the pool because theres no chance of getting electrocuted in an indoor pool. i was thinking the risk would be high. you might try going there if its convenient.

Iain Banks said...

It's pretty weird. My usual pool is open at all times, just the one near work that I swim at occasionally has the closure policy!

Anonymous said...


imagine how bad this would suck.


Iain Banks said...

The funny thing about that article is that the pool is real close to where we used to live in the UK!