Treading in dangerous waters: Some local pools not up to safety standards

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A 22-year-old died last night at a swimming pool inside a Mishawaka apartment complex.

ABC57 News is looking into how to keep you and your family safe during a similar emergency.

That young man died as his twin brother watched. It's unclear what lead to his drowning at McKinley Woods Apartment Complex.

What is for sure is that the people there said precious minutes were wasted trying to call for help. The emergency phone didn't work when they tried to call 9-1-1, and others frantically searched for a cell phone.

Wednesday night's tragedy really had us thinking about your safety.

As you look around your own apartment complex, ask yourself if you know where this phone is and if you would be ready to jump in and help.

ABC 57's Jaclyn Kelley covered the tragedy and is looking into the questions that it brought up.

We wanted to know more about these phones:

  1. Are they required to be in place?
  2. Who checks on them to make sure they do work?
  3. Is there anything we as a community can learn from the tragic events that unfolded?

Our first call was to Mishawaka's Code Enforcement.

Workers said they only regulate the construction of public pools. After that, it's up to the health department to inspect and enforce safety requirements passed down by the state.

Next, we went to the City of Mishawaka.

Fire Marshall George Schafer said this serves as a major wake up call.

"[It's a] reminder to people that we need to get our stuff in order. We need to check things more often. We need to make sure all the proper equipment is in place," he said.

I uncovered that the state requires all public pools to have the proper markings  and signs posted, along with a ring buoy, emergency phone, a shepard's hook, a throw line and a first aid kit. However, these requirements only apply to pools built after 1989.

"There are a lot of pool around that do not have the proper safety equipment and aren't required to because of the year that they were built," said Schafer.

So I set out to see just how many pools did not have the latest requirements.

I checked Indian Lakes, Autumn Lakes, and Main Street Village. All three properties were up to code.

But even with all the safety measures in place, accidents can still happen.

"It can happen instantaneously," said Schafer.

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