Residential Swimming Pool and Spa Safety - Best Practices

Swimming Pool Requirements


Private swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, containing water more than 24 inches of water must;

  • Be completely surrounded by a fence or barrier at least 48 inches in height above the finished ground level measured on the side of the barrier away from the pool.
  • Gates and doors in such barriers shall be self-closing and self-latching.
  • If the self-latching device is less than 54 inches above the bottom of the gate, the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the gate.
  • Self-closing and self-latching gates shall be maintained such that the gate will positively close and latch when released from an open position of 6 inches from the gatepost.
  • No existing pool enclosure shall be removed, replaced or changed in a manner that reduces its effectiveness as a safety barrier.

Anti-Entrapment Safety Drain

  • Every pool and spa containing a single drain shall be equipped with a retrofit anti-entrapment safety drain cover.
  • The required drain must comply with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers/American National Standards (ASME/ANSI) reference number A112.19.8, or the pool or spa shall be shut down until installation is completed.

The City of Tulsa is committed to the safe use and enjoyment of pools and spas. Studies show that children are most at risk in their own backyard when parents believe they are safely inside the house. Best Management Practices will help protect the area between the house and pool.

If you are considering having a residential swimming pool, hot tub or spa, containing water more than twenty-four inches in depth installed in your yard whether the pool is above ground or in-ground, a permit is required.

Here are a few safety features that will help protect your children:

Fencing - In addition to the perimeter fence surrounding the back yard, a permanent or temporary fence will isolate a pool from the house. This will reduce the ability for a child to open a door and wander into the pool.

Automatic, Power Safety Covers - An impenetrable cover that is operated by a key or controlled electronic monitor will completely cover the pool, blocking access to water.

Door Exit Alarms - Gives warning when a child opens the door. Door chime/announcer or home security system can be used for this purpose.

Self-Closing/Self-Latching Devices for Doors and Latching Devices for Windows - Keeps all doors and windows leading to the pool or spa area securely closed, limiting access by unsupervised children.

Fence Gate Closer and Latch - Keeps fence gates securely closed, making a pool or spa inaccessible to a child.

Infrared Detectors - A wireless detection alarm that sounds when area around pool perimeter is entered.

Fence Gate Alarms - Sounds when fence gate is opened.

Pool Alarms - Alarm placed in pool that sounds upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water.

Child Alarms - Alarm clipped on child that sounds when child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water.

Rope and Float Line - Placed across pool alerting swimmers to the separation of the deep and shallow end of the pool.

Life Ring, Shepherd's Crook (Hook) - All rescue equipment should be placed near the pool or spa in an easily accessible spot, and should also be in good condition. These can be used to pull someone in trouble to safety.

Posted Emergency Information - Post all CPR, other emergency information, and warning signs, as well as the 911 phone number (or other emergency medical service numbers) near the pool or spa.

Outside Telephone - A cordless or pool-side telephone so children will not be left unattended while parent or guardian answers the phone.

The City of Tulsa's best management practices for the home pool or spa provide a healthy, relaxing recreational opportunity for families in their own backyard. Nevertheless, be aware that any body of water poses a risk, especially for children under five years of age. Adult supervision is the only way to prevent accidents.