Clarion Safety Systems Releases Video On Shallow Water Blackout And Effective Pool Safety Signs

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Educational video from Clarion Safety Systems explains shallow water blackout and how standards-compliant safety signs that use a systems approach to safety can help to prevent water safety accidents and provide best practice duty-to-warn for pool owners

A "No Long Breath Holding" Pool Safety Sign from Clarion Safety Systems. (Sign design ©Clarion Safety Systems. All rights reserved.)

A "No Long Breath Holding" Pool Safety Sign from Clarion Safety Systems. (Sign design ©Clarion Safety Systems. All rights reserved.)

The signage makes people wonder, ‘Why can’t I breath hold?’ Then they will start to understand, through education, how dangerous it is.

Clarion Safety Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of safety signs and safety labels, has produced a video on shallow water blackout and effective pool safety signs. The piece is part of a series of short, educational videos designed to serve as a resource in promoting a better understanding of current best practices in the design of product safety labels and safety sign systems.

The goal of its 4-minute video, “Drowning Prevention: Shallow Water Blackout,” is to educate and raise awareness of shallow water blackout, which experts believe to be a leading cause of swimming-related drowning. It occurs when a person passes out without warning while underwater, after extreme, prolonged breath holding preceded by hyperventilation. It is a sudden, silent killer; parents and lifeguards supervising pools often fail to detect any danger or crisis before it is too late.

Shallow water blackout most often occurs because of a lack of knowledge of the dangers of breath holding under water. An important step towards raising awareness is “No Long Breath Holding” signage, developed by leading experts in safety standards, signage and aquatics, including Clarion’s CEO, Geoffrey Peckham, and renowned aquatics safety expert, Dr. Tom Griffiths.

“The signage makes people wonder, ‘Why can’t I breath hold?’ Then they will start to understand, through education, how dangerous it is,” says Rhonda Milner, MD, who is interviewed in the video. Dr. Milner lost her twenty-five year old son, Whitner, to shallow water blackout. She established the non-profit organization, Shallow Water Blackout Prevention, to promote awareness and education.

Whitner was an avid swimmer who had begun to practice breath holding to increase his free-diving time because of an interest in spear fishing. One evening, in preparation for an upcoming spear fishing event, he practiced long breath holding in the family’s backyard pool and passed out underwater and drowned.

“It’s not uncommon for amateur, professional and military swimmers to practice holding their breath underwater for extended periods of time as part of their training. But doing so could result in tragedy. Swimmers, divers, spear-fishing enthusiasts – they’re all at risk and, tragically, most of them are completely unaware of the danger of shallow water blackout,” says Peckham.

Clarion offers safety signs for use at poolside, on front gates and in locker rooms; these signs are intended to work together to explain the dangers of shallow water blackout and then to reinforce the message. Also available are safety cones and tabletop placards. The “No Long Breath Holding” message is available as stand-alone signs and it can be incorporated into ANSI Z535-formatted signs, including multi-hazard signs that combine the most important pool safety messages. Clarion’s signs have been featured on both CNN and ABC News’ Good Morning America during segments on shallow water blackout.

These pool safety products are part of Clarion’s pool safety sign system which uses state-of-the-art graphical symbols, color, language and special formatting to communicate the most serious water safety hazards. In 2012, Clarion and the Aquatics Safety Research Group combined their expertise in safety standards, signage and aquatics to develop this innovative system of pool safety signs which complies with the latest standards to fulfill the legal duty to warn, and has been tested on viewers and proven to be quickly recognized and easily understood.

The video is available through the Clarion website’s video library as well as through the company’s YouTube channel.

Additional up-to-date information on water safety signs – including pool, beach and waterpark signs – can be found in Clarion’s online safety sign and safety label Learning Center.

About Clarion’s Pool Safety Sign System
Clarion pool safety sign systems are available for purchase directly from Clarion’s online pool safety catalog, as well as from leading commercial pool suppliers, including Recreonics and Lincoln Equipment. Signs are offered in English, Spanish, and bilingual English/Spanish. They are customizable in over 30 different languages and in various sizes and finishes to meet location and climate-based considerations. Additional information on pool safety and the importance of effective pool safety signage is available on the Clarion website, and by viewing the video “Preventing Swimming Pool Accidents and Lawsuits.”

Clarion Safety Systems, LLC, is the leading designer and manufacturer of visual safety solutions that help customers in more than 180 industries worldwide to make their products and premises safer. Clarion offers a full range of standard and custom products including machinery safety labels, environmental and facility safety signs, pipe and valve identification markings, lockout/tagout products, and safety-grade photoluminescent egress pathmarking escape systems. Founded in 1990, the company continues to play a leading role in the development and writing of international and national standards for safety signs, labels, and markings. Clarion is headquartered at 190 Old Milford Road in Milford, PA, 18337, and online at

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Erin Earley
Clarion Safety Systems
+1 570-296-5686 Ext: 228
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