WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9)-- Whether you're at home or on the road, there are some important things to consider to keep your family safe in a swimming pool.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, WUSA9 obtained thousands of pages of inspection reports for all the swimming pools in D.C. and many of its suburbs. You may be surprised what doesn't pass code and what does.
Surprisingly, it's not a code violation in D.C., but again and again, D.C. Department of Health inspectors noted that emergency phones located poolside could not dial 911. Instead, they're routed directly to the front desk.
"That is allowable per the D.C. pool code," explained Ronnie Taylor of the D.C. Department of Health.
The emergency phone lines were simply dead, with no dial tone at all, at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on New York Avenue and the Washington Courtyard by Marriott on Connecticut Avenue. That Marriott inspection also revealed a handicapped-accessible chair that wasn't working, floating debris and a loose railing.
"If the railing is loose, then you might lose your balance and hit your head on the side of the pool or fall," he said.
The swimming pool at the Courtyard Marriott on 2nd Street in NE was temporarily shut down due to holes and chips on the bottom of the pool. And the chlorine reading was well beyond acceptable limits.
Taylor said, "That means that the chemicals are working hard to kill bacteria and contaminants that are in the pool. Anytime you go anywhere and you smell a lot of chlorine, that's bad."
Inspectors found even swimming pools that appeared to have safety equipment were in violation.
"That's inexcusable," remarked Taylor when he learned that several hotels, including the Washington Hilton, had potentially life-saving ring buoys at their pools, but no rope attached to them. "I can't understand why you would have the ring buoy and not have a rope attached to it."
The Hilton Garden Inn didn't display an important, and required sign: that children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. That pool also had a leaking filter.
"Make sure the pool water is crystal clear. Don't get in cloudy water," said Taylor.
Ironically, some of the worst offenders, like the Liason Capitol Hill Pool, had actually summoned inspectors in order to renew their pool licenses. That hotel had eight critical violations, including not having a certified pool operator on duty.
If a hotel swimming pool is less than six feet deep, it's not required to have a lifeguard. But it does need to have a plan in place to ensure the safety of children.
All the pools included in this report had between 24 hours and two weeks to correct their violations.
Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9