CPSC Encourages State and Local Governments To Apply for Pool Safely Grants To Combat Drownings and Drain Entrapments

May 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing today a 90-day solicitation for grant applications for a special Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP) for both state and local governments.  CPSC expects to award $1 million in 1-year grants in Fiscal Year 2016 (which begins October 1, 2015) to reduce deaths and injuries from drowning and drain entrapments in pools and spas.  The grant program is part of CPSC’s national effort to make drowning and drain entrapment prevention a critical public safety priority.

CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) announced the start of the grant program during a pre-Memorial Day Weekend water safety and drowning prevention event on Capitol Hill.

The grant program is authorized through the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, (VGB Act), which Rep. Wasserman Schultz authored and led, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2007.  The PSGP seeks to provide state and local governments with assistance for education, training, and enforcement of pool safety requirements.

“This potentially lifesaving grant program is yet another way CPSC is trying to address the terrible deaths and injuries associated with drowning and drain entrapments,” said Chairman Kaye.  “Through this program, we are seeking to provide funding support for state or local officials to educate the public about the risk of drowning and to enforce pool safety laws in their community.”

“I am thrilled that VGB Act’s grant mechanism is ready to be implemented, so communities nationwide can bolster their efforts to improve safety and prevent drownings and near-drownings,” Rep. Wasserman Schultz said. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have fought hard to protect this life-saving grant program’s funding. Thank you to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for their ongoing leadership in helping save more kids.”

Applicants must be a state or local government or U.S. Territory that has an enacted or amended state and/or local law(s) that meets the requirements specified in title XIV – Pool and Spa Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 8001), Sections 1405 and 1406.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the solicitation on Grants.gov under grant opportunity CPSC-16-001, which will be available until August 19, 2015.

CPSC’s website PoolSafely.gov serves as a supplemental repository for information about the Pool Safely Grant Program and the VGB Act. The site has a broad array of free, downloadable information for the general public, state and local officials, the swimming pool and spa community, and the media.

To reduce the risk of drowning, all pool owners should adopt the requirements of this child safety law, including installing new safety drain covers and physical barriers, such as a fence completely surrounding the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates. If the house forms a side of the barrier, use alarms on doors leading to the pool area and/or a power safety cover over the pool.

Contact: Ann Piesen, Grant Manager at (301) 504-7261 or grants@cpsc.gov.