10 Inexpensive Items No Pool Should be Without

Have a little wiggle room in your year-end budget? Here are a few great ways to make life easier poolside, without breaking the bank.

Commercial Grade Test Kits
– No money is better spent poolside, period. Your test kit pays for itself quickly so you might as well upgrade to a great one. In the $50-100 range there are great complete test kits available. At just over $100 you’ll start to see entry level photometric and electronic kits. In the $300-500 range your test kit will be less subjective, more precise and quicker. All of those benefits pay big dividends poolside.  

Dry Chemical Chlorine Shock – There are distinctive, particular moments poolside when an operator needs a lot of chlorine. Tactfully, we’ll call these “code brown” scenarios. The CDC guidelines for a non-formed fecal release mandate a lot of chlorine, for a lot of time (20 PPM for 12.75 hours, specifically). That means you’ll need a lot of chlorine on site, ready to go, just in case. Pick a dry chemical chlorine shock in powder form. Calcium hypochlorite has a decent shelf life and can be set aside for those special occasions poolside when you need it most.

Bloodborne Pathogen Cleanup Kit – Pool operators tend to be Type-A. As a group, we may be guilty of rushing into situations and trying to solve problems too quickly. Normally this isn’t a bad thing, but when it comes to dealing with blood spills poolside it may be time to pump the breaks. Make sure you’re responding to emergencies armed with a bloodborne pathogen cleanup kit. It should include a solidifier to make cleanup easy, a disinfectant to make cleanup safe and all the personal protective equipment you need to deal with poolside blood spills. You can make your own kit or grab a prepackaged one from a medical supply company.

Hygrometer – Running an indoor pool? Your HVAC system is vital to your operation. A good system keeps your air temperature and relative humidity within desired ranges (air temp 2-5 degrees above water temp, with a 40-60% RH). The problem is, we rely on these systems to operate autonomously and many operators fail to audit system performance. Not to fear, for around $20 you can pick up a digital hygrometer (humidity meter) that can independently verify that your air quality is optimal. Increased bather comfort, lower utility bills and extended life expectancy of pool structures and equipment will follow.

Specialty Chemicals – We’re big proponents of decreasing the amount of chemicals you stock in your pump room. A great pool can be run with just a few chemicals. Nonetheless, you can make life a little easier with couple specialty chemicals specific to your unique operation. Run a hot tub? Defoamer goes a long way on a busy day. Shocking your pool on a tight schedule? Sodium Thiosulfate works great to neutralize high chlorine levels quickly. Don’t buy every chemical at the pool store, but feel free to stock a few of the tried-and-true remedies that you’re likely to use most.

Uniform Essentials – “I can’t work today; I forgot my uniform.” Ever heard that one? Stop that issue dead in its tracks by stocking whistles, sunglasses, guard shirts and loaner bathing suits for swim lesson instructors. You’ll stay off the chair and out of the water when an employee shows up unprepared.

Chem Aprons – All personal protective equipment is important, but a few good chem aprons save your nice work outfits for another day. Stocking a few chemical aprons by your chemical storage areas will keep you safer and will save your wardrobe from perilous splashes.

WD-40 – Squeaky doors, impacted starting blocks and self-closing gates that no longer self-close. These natatorium nightmares are no match for spray lubricant. WD-40 is your best friend for quick fixes poolside.

Two Way Radios – Connect your team across your facility. Add a two-way radio to your guard stand, front desk and offices, or give them to staff members on the go. Radios have come down in price and have great range, even throughout buildings. Consider water resistant units for your lifeguard crew.

Satellite First Aid Kits – Make responding to an emergency just a bit quicker by stocking multiple, mini-med-kits poolside. The items you need most often, or most urgently (Band-Aids, gauze, tape, gloves, rescue masks) should be stocked on or around the personnel trained to use them. Purchase rescue hip-packs for your guards to wear, or to hang on their lifeguard stations. Regularly audit their contents and restock weekly. Your team will have the rescue tools they need, close at hand, when they need them most.