........The Cajun Contractor, Michael King.........
..................Michael King
...........The Cajun Contractor

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  Pool Safety & Safety Features

Q) Gilpin Incorporated manufactures steel and aluminum fence and railing. Among the many aluminum fence products that are offered, you offer a line of pool fence. Will you explain what is meant by “Pool Fence”?
A) Pool Fence, as the name suggests, is aluminum fence designed to be installed around a backyard swimming pool. Pool Fence is designed in adherence to specific pool codes created with child safety in mind. The positioning of the cross rails, for instance, is one detail that the manufacturer must abide by. The lower cross rail is usually at the bottom of the pickets. This positioning may prevent a person’s foot from being cut by a sharp edge of a picket that protrudes through the lower cross rail. It also keeps towels or clothing from snagging on the picket. The lower rail “frames” the panel and provides the starting point for the next code requirement. Code requires that the second cross rail must be at least 45” from the first. This stops a person from using the cross rails as a ladder to climb over the fence and gain entry to the pool.

Q) What other requirements of the pool fence code might our listeners need to know?
A) The pool fence must be at least 48” high – 48”, 54” and 60” are very popular heights. The fence style will usually have a flat top or a rail at the top of the panel as opposed to having pickets that stick up passed the top rail. This is the case with both of the Gilpin Pool Fence styles – one is produced with all pickets running up to the top rail, the other offers alternating pickets coming to a point below the top rail. These pickets must also be less than 4” apart.

Q) And what is the purpose of the 4 inch spacing between pickets?
A) The fence must have vertical picket spacing of less than 4” apart so that a 4” sphere or ball is not allowed to pass through. Again, the main purpose of establishing this code requirement is for the safety of the child. The 4 inch requirement is in place to help prevent a child’s head from becoming stuck between the pickets. The pickets are close enough to create a safety feature and are apart enough to allow for some viewing.

Q) What other features are available to help keep Gilpin Pool Fence safe for children and offer peace of mind to their parents?
A) Almost all pools with a fence also have a gate. Access gates must be equipped to
accommodate a locking device. All Gilpin gate latches include keyed locks and we also offer an optional magnetic locking latch with a top pull knob. This can be installed toward the top of the gate so that the knob is out of the reach of small children. Also, the gate must open outwards away from the pool and be self-closing. We include self-closing hinges with our gates. This allows the gate to swing closed after entry thus avoiding an inadvertent opening for the young child to wonder through. We also offer magnetic latches that are disengaged from the top of the gate. The latch is installed with the release knob at 54 to 60 inches off the ground with the intent of keeping the knob out of the reach of the small child. They will not be able to accidently open the gate and walk through.

Q) Does the swimming pool industry offer any after-market safety features that can be used with the Gilpin Pool Fence?
A) Yes, although Gilpin does not offer one, pool alarms are also available for purchase as an after-market item. These alarms are installed on the gate and form an electronic connection that, when broken, sends a signal to the indoor base receiver to sound a warning alarm.

Safety is of utmost importance for the owner of a backyard swimming pool. Everyone needs to feel secure that their outdoor living products have been produced with safety in mind.

In addition to the manufacturers built-in features, one of the most powerful safety features can be provided by the parents; and I’m sure that homeowners with pools are most certainly doing this. You can teach your child to swim, teach respect for the water and help your child to understand the dangers that can be associated with swimming pools.
Together we can create a safe, relaxing and enjoyable backyard environment for the whole family to enjoy.

Q) Often a deck or porch will be in use around the pool area and Gilpin offers an ornamental railing system, I’m sure that safety has been considered in the design of your railing. Can you tell us about the railing that you offer?
A) We offer four styles of ornamental railing in two colors and two heights. The Summit Railing style is our most popular railing. It is produced in fully assembled railing sections for ease of installation. We offer this railing in 36” height as well as 42” height. Summit Railing offers a decorative 2-1/2” wide handrail and traditional square spindle design and offers the safety required of a railing system.

Q) Railing is usually required around a deck by a swimming pool, so when the consumer purchases the Summit railing, what safety features can he expect to find?
A) A deck that is built on-grade will need to meet several requirements or codes. The railing will need to be installed at a 36” height. Also, the open space below the bottom rail will need to be less than 4 inches. Our Summit Railing will leave a 3 inch space when installed at a 36 inch height. Another spacing requirement is the same as Pool Fence and that is the 4 inch spacing between spindles. Our spindle spacing for Summit is about 3-1/2 inches.

Q) Another safety feature of railing is a weight requirement. Does your railing meet the code for weight distribution?
A) Our summit railing has been tested and meets the concentrated weight requirement of 200 pound per foot horizontal weight and 200 pound per foot downward weight. We tested our railing using both of our installation methods, therefore either method offers the same safety need. Our 42 inch high railing will also meet the needs of balcony installation.

Q) As outdoor living space continues to be such an appealing aspect of home life, how does Gilpin approach its roll in this growing market?
A) Many homeowners choose to develop their outdoor living space by adding a swimming pool to their backyard. So, two years ago, we decided to get more directly involved with the Pool Fence segment of the aluminum fence market. So recently, Gilpin has partnered with a swimming pool manufacturer to help take our products to market for one-stop-shopping when the consumer is looking for a fence to be installed in conjunction with the pool. This partnership has opened new opportunities for us through cross marketing with other vendors of outdoor products. One company provides the pool, we provide the fence. Another company will offer the paving stones or the outdoor grill or the patio furniture. Most backyard living areas will include some sort of deck. Gilpin offers a variety of railing to accent the deck area.

We are constantly looking for ways to get our name to the consumer and our products to the marketplace. That is why we value our partnership with Home Talk USA. Through conversations with you, Michael, and through sponsorship of your show, we are able to reach out to consumers with a fine quality product that fits their needs.

Q) How can the listeners contact your company to learn more about your fence and railing products?
A) Consumers can reach us by phone at our toll free number, 800-348-0746, or go to our website www.gilpininc.com to learn more about all the products we offer.


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