While layers of protection have always been encouraged, they likely will be required next year in California.

Earlier this year, the industry there was surprised by a last-minute change to a bill meant to address criminal checks. After a so-called “gut and amend,” Assembly Bill 470 addressed pool and spa safety. Verbiage stipulates that homeowners would have to install two of the following drowning prevention devices: enclosures; removable mesh fencing; covers; door alarms; self-closing, self-latching devices; pool alarms; and other devices that are determined to offer equal protection. The bill would allow so-called oral alarms that emit a verbal message.

The bill also would mandate that all residential pools be inspected upon the sale of the home to verify that safety codes are met.

AB 470 has passed both houses of the legislature and awaits signature by Governor Jerry Brown.

The California Pool & Spa Association supported the bill after the removal of language that called fencing the most effective drowning prevention method. The organization also successfully lobbied to delete a clause in existing code that permits municipalities to impose more stringent safety codes. If passed, the resulting law will create uniformity among the various cities and counties, some of which had already required two devices.

“We think we’ve made a very good compromise on the bill,” said CPSA Executive Director John Norwood.