The Raffarin Law outlines usage of safety and security systems around private and collective below-ground swimming pools. The objective of this law is to prevent people, and especially children, from drowning in private pools. All swimming pools must be protected by a security system compliant with French set standards.
A pool owners must ensure that they are using at least one of the approved safety devices. Any safety equipment used must comply with the French standards association AFNOR. You can choose between one of the four following safety systems available from most swimming pool equipment suppliers or pool safety specialists:
The Raffarin law obliges pool owners to install a standardised security system - dispositif de sécurité normalisé - for their swimming pool. Further details from LegiFrance.
If you had a cover or barrier that you installed before the standards came out you can use it ONLY if the supplier can officially prove that it is compliant. If not, you will have to buy a device that is compliant and combine it with your existing security equipment.
It is recommended that you contact a local pool professional who will guide you into buying the most appropriate equipment. For a comprehensive list of reliable pool professionals contact the FPP (Fédération des Professionnels de la Piscine).
In the next few years, pool builders will be obliged to provide their clients with a comprehensive safety information package. According to the CSIP, soon planning permission for pools will only be granted if the pool has been designed with a security system in mind.
Compliant: NF P90-306
There are many different models of safety barrier and gate with certain criteria applying to the gate lock system of collective pools.
Compliant: NF P90-308
A reinforced pool cover either covers the surface of water or covers the pool and its edge. Reinforced pool covers have the advantage of closing the pool off completely whereas a child could climb over a fence. Floating lightweight solar covers (used to regulate the temperature of the water in the summer) are extremely dangerous and do not qualify as reinforced pool covers: they have been the first cause of death by drowning in swimming pools. The reinforced pool cover must be able to support the weight of an adult or a child (100kg). There are several different designs on the market including:
Alarms compliant with the NF P90-307 standard can be used without any other safety device.
Certain criteria apply to the use of alarms including the need that the alarm can be heard from all parts of the property. There are two types of pool alarms available on the market:
Note: Infra-red and immersion alarms should be considered as complementary security systems. They do not prevent children from falling in.
Compliant: NF P90-309
Pool shelters come in all shapes and sizes. They can be fixed, removable, telescopic or inflatable. With a pool shelter you must make sure that the structure is strong enough to prevent children from falling in and that the shelter can be and is securely locked when no one is supervising the pool.
Competent adult supervision is the only way to prevent drowning accidents, and equipping your pool with a standardised security system is just a complementary security initiative.
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