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There are pool covers, and there are safety pool covers. Pool covers are designed for a variety of purposes: they can keep debris out, they can keep the heat in, or they can help prevent evaporation. But safety pool covers are a class unto themselves, and should not be confused with the others. A safety cover shields the entire pool surface and is secured flush with the deck. These covers are designed to prevent unsupervised access to a pool or spa when it is not in use. To be considered a safety cover, it must meet the American Society for Testing Materials ASTM Standard F 1346-91. This standard has detailed specifications to which the cover must abide including:

• The cover’s material must not be harmful to health

• The materials must be durable for application.

• The cover should be fabricated according to generally accepted, good manufacturing practices.

• Detailed installation instructions must be provided and attached to the cover.

• The cover must be labeled with the following: The manufacturer’s name, the date manufactured and installed, instructions to the consumer for preliminary inspection and multiple specific warning labels with specific color, font style, case and size, as well as placement requirements

• The cover must include a life expectancy label

• The cover’s fastening mechanism must be difficult to keep children under five years old from removing.

• The cover must be designed so that the opening between the cover and the top of the pool will restrict the passage and strong enough to prevent the forced opening of a specific test object.

• For pools with a diameter of greater than eight feet, the cover can sustain a static load of no less than 485 lbs. to permit a rescue operation.

• The cover must be constructed or have an auxiliary system in place that will drain all standing water from the cover within 30 minutes after rainfall.

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