Recreational Water Safety

The Brant County Health Unit regularly inspects public pools, public spas, splash pads, and wading pools; as well as offers online courses in pool operations. If you would like to obtain your certification or re-certify, click the link the below to complete the course.

Below, you can also find more information on ensuring your backyard pool is safe before swimming. The Brant Health Unit’s Inspection Reports provide you with quick and easy access to results of pool inspections.

The information below can help you make your backyard pool safe and fun for everyone. The content was developed as a partnership between the Brant County Health Unit and Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Services (Brantford).

Circulation and Filtration

Pool filter basics:

  • Remove colour, suspended particles, organic material and some bacteria
  • Boosts effectiveness of sanitizers like chlorine
  • Run filter 24 hours/day, seven days/week for best effectiveness

Backwash and Downwash

  •  Begin backwash when pressure difference between influent and effluent pump lines reaches 10-15 psi, or as recommended by the installer or manufacturer
  • Trapped dirt in the sand bed of the filter requires increased pumping pressure. Backwashing removes trapped dirt by reversing water through the filter

Water Balance

Balanced water is germ-free. It also promotes comfort for swimmers and makes pool maintenance easy and economical.

Please contact the Health Unit regarding other water quality parameters.

Your pool’s water balance depends on these factors:

  • Total Alkalinity (80-120ppm)
  • Chlorine level (0.5 – 1.5 ppm Free Chlorine recommended)
  • pH-acid/base level (7.2 – 7.8 recommended)
  • Temperature (70 – 90 degrees F recommended)

Salt Water Pool Tips

  • Adjust control knob on salt system to meet demand

  • Maintain proper salt and stabilizer levels

  • Visually inspect pool to confirm proper filtration and chlorination

  • Keep pool recirculation system running constantly

  • Check salt level in pool every six months

  • Confirm salt unit producing chlorine (green light)

  • Clean cell to remove calcium deposits and maintain chlorine production

Safe Chemical Storage


  • Read and follow manufacturer directions
  • Use personal protective equipment when handling chemicals
  • Keep chemicals in a cool, dry, vented and locked place
  • Store chemicals off floor at reasonable height
  • Store dry chemicals above liquid ones
  • Clean up spills immediately


  • Store chemicals near flammable materials (paper, solvents, paint, etc.)

  • Mix chemicals

  • Leave chemical containers open

  • Use same scoop for different chemicals

Safe Pool Fencing

A pool-ready fence:

  • Prevents direct access to pool from house and other areas of yard
  • Meets municipal bylaws and height regulations
  • Self-closes and self-latches with inside latch
  • Features minimum 1.2m in height and gaps narrower than 10cm wide
  • Is free of items that would allow easy entry (trees, buildings, etc.)
  • Has gate latch above children’s reach and always locked when not in use

Safety Equipment Checklist

Are you prepared with these supplies?:

  • Lifesaving equipment, like safety ring with a rope, near the pool.
  • First-Aid kit
  • Telephone with emergency numbers located near the pool
  • Properly-fitted personal flotation devices (PFDs) around the pool for toddlers and beginner swimmers

Pool Rules


  • Encourage feet-first entries
  • Ensure sufficient path of entry for slides and dives; slide feet first only
  • Restrict diving or sliding to one person at a time
  • Ensure slide or diving board matches your pool manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Keep pool deck clean and debris-free
  • Keep a safety cover on the pool when not in use


  •  Leave family members unattended
  • Allow running on pool deck
  • Allow swimming without pool supervisor
  • Mix alcohol and swimming
  • Allow diving in murky or cloudy water
  • Wear earplugs (can add dangerous pressure during descent into water)
  • Allow diving into above-ground pool
  • Use breakable cups and dishware on pool deck

Emergency Steps

Stay calm and act quickly
  • CHECK: For danger and responsiveness, tap gently and shout, “are you okay?”
  • SEARCH: If casualty is responsive, look for bleeding from head to toe
  • CARE: Open airway, check breathing and pulse and care for additional minor injuries
  • CALL: If casualty is unresponsive, yell for help and send someone to call an ambulance (911)

Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Services (Brantford)

25 William Street
Brantford, ON N3T 3K4