The Consumer Product Safety Commission and International Code Council both recently heard requests to alter their language as it relates to entrapment safety.

CPSC held hearings in November 2009 regarding its proposed definition for unblockable drains in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Unblockable drains are exempt from the need to have two drain outlets per pump, or a backup system such as an SVRS, according to language in the VGB Act. The language cites dimensions of more than 18-by-23 inches or 29 inches on the diagonal.

Opinions on the proposed dimensions vary. Some think the measurements are restrictive and arbitrary, and that performance tests should be conducted on each drain instead.

Some SVRS manufacturers said the dimensions are too small. Paul Pennington of Vac-Alert in Santa Rosa, Calif., said that Congress originally intended to require unblockable drains to be at least 4-by-6-feet when the VGB Act was first being drafted.

Others believe no truly unblockable drain exists, so the exemption should be removed.

As of press time, CPSC was still considering the final wording on its unblockable drain definition. Kathleen Reilly, a spokesperson for the agency, said it is not known when the document will be published.

Also in November, an ICC committee voted unanimously against a proposal, requested by the Pool Safety Council, to require safety vacuum release systems or gravity-drainage systems on all pools in the 2012

International Building Code and International Residential Code Appendix G.

This would have taken language back to the 2003 and 2006 language.

ICC will reconvene in May 2010 to finalize the model codes. If it chooses, the Pool Safety Council can appeal the decision then. “We feel confident the ICC decision will be overturned in May at the final hearing,” said Ben Schneider, PSC’s deputy communications director.