Virginia Graeme Baker was lovingly known to her friends and family as Graeme (pronounced Graham). She was the granddaughter of the former Secretary of State James Baker. Graeme had gone to a graduation party at a family friends home along with her mom Nancy and 4 sisters on June 15, 2002. The main focal point ofthe party was the pool and hot tub.
As she had worn her swimsuit to the party, immediately upon her arrival, Graeme jumped into the pool. Not long after, Graeme’s sister ran to her mother and told her that Graeme was underwater in the hot tub and would not come up. Nancy raced to the hot tub , but could only see a dark figure as the bubbles were obscuring visibility at the surface.
Nancy had jumped into the hot tub and discovered the terrifying sight of Graeme’s unconscious body on the bottom, not knowing her daughter was trapped by the suction of the hot tub’s drain. Nancy tried unsuccessfully to pull her daughter out.
It took 2 adult men at the party pulling so hard, that the drain cover broke in the process of freeing Graeme. Although life-saving efforts had immediately been performed, little Virginia Graeme Baker could not be revived. This was a sad sad day for the Baker family and they did not want another child to be lost in such a horrific manner.
Nancy Baker joined up with Safe-kids USA with the information she had learned. In December 2007, a law was passed effecting all commercial pools in the USA named after Virginia Graeme Baker and referred to as “The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act“.
Signed by President George W. Bush, it is a federal law for all commercial pools, swim clubs and residential pools built after 12/19/2007 to have new drain covers or Safety Vacuum Release Systems (SVRS) installed on all pools to meet new code in order to prevent bodily injury or death. All covers or SVRS must meet or exceed the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8.-2007.
When a blockage occurs in either the main drain (at bottom of pool) or skimmer , a sudden rise in the vacuum will cause the SVRS to shut down the pump operation and sound an audible alarm.
Between 1985 and 2004, 33 deaths were contributed to entrapment from the suction of the pool filters. In a residential pool, it is worth the piece of mind to have the drain cover changed over to a compliant VGB drain cover, even if in your town it may not be required.
If you are unsure if your current drain cover is compliant, contact your pool professional or a professional at Elite LSPS for an inspection.
Our loved ones are a gift to be cherished and anything we can do to assist in keeping them safe, should be done to the absolute best of our ability!