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    Clockwise from top left: A Public Service Announcement in a Washington, D.C., metro station; Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, addresses the crowd at a Pool Safely event in Houston over the summer; the CPSC’s booth at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Las Vegas in November; Kathleen Reilly, CPSC public affairs specialist, addresses the crowd during a press conference at the IPSPE as Bill Weber, CEO of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, looks on; a Spanish-language PSA billboard in Miami.

Do you “Pool Safely?”

Last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission unveiled this multifaceted campaign to promote pool safety and the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Working with PR firm Widmeyer Communications, the campaign has sought to reach consumers nationwide with a clear message: Simple steps save lives. To further the effort, CPSC awarded a number of grants in November 2010.

“We want to make sure that all pools are functioning properly,” said Kathleen Reilly, public affairs specialist at CPSC. “It’s a really big project, but the message that we’re promoting helps [pool professionals] send a story of safety and concern [to parents], and convey that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make a pool compliant.”

Following is a snapshot of what’s expected this year from various organizations involved with Pool Safely.

Organization: Erica Lane Enterprises (executed by NSPF)

Funding (through Sept. 2011): $579,988

Target Audience (excluding N.Y., N.J., Conn., Pa.): State/local inspectors, permitting/regulation officials

Planned Programming: NSPF will coordinate with the National Environmental Health Association, as well as the various state associations, on almost 20 training events nationwide. But the focus will be on pool-heavy states such as Arizona, California and Florida.

Organization: National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Funding (through Sept. 2011): $1,286,100

Target Audience: Consumers, first responders, swim schools, pool owners, lifeguards, pool managers, maintenance workers, pool industry stakeholders

Planned Programming: NDPA will launch a national public relations/media campaign highlighting layers of protection and the importance of swim lessons; a pool-safety curriculum for nursery school-aged children; a series of video PSAs; and a coordinated effort with the USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make A Splash” campaign.

Perhaps the group’s most innovative initiative is a Pool & Spa Safety Technician training program for first responders, modeled after the successful National Certified Child Passenger Safety Program for child car seat inspections. The program includes information on identifying potential hazards in the backyard and promoting injury-prevention.

“It’s an education program; it’s not about selling products,” said Kristin Goffman, executive director of NDPA.

Organization: Association of Pool & Spa Professionals

Funding (through Sept. 2011): $363,760

Target Audience: Pool service professionals, aquatics managers, lifeguards, manufacturers, distributors, retailers in all areas except N.Y., N.J., Conn. and Pa.

Planned Programming: APSP will transmit CPSC’s Pool Safely message to stakeholders throughout the industry.

Having kicked off its effort at the 2010 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, supplying water safety and entrapment prevention materials including door hangers and brochures, APSP will continue promoting the message via videos and social media.

The association also will conduct a series of classes geared toward service technicians and aquatics facility managers. Instruction will be based on the ANSI-7 Suction Entrapment Avoidance Standard, developed by APSP and adopted by the International Code Council in 2008, and events will be held nationwide. Training also will be offered online and include a train-the-trainer program, allowing attendees to transmit the information to members of their own organizations or companies.            

Organization: Northeast Spa & Pool Association

Funding (through Sept. 2011): $239,151

Target Audience: Health and building code officials, pool operators, lifeguards, pool industry service and maintenance personnel in N.Y., N.J., Conn. and Pa.

Planned Programming: Spearheading Pool Safely messaging efforts in the Northeast, Hamilton, N.J.-based NESPA will carry education and training initiatives to a variety of audiences, including  health and building code officials.

The task is complicated because every state handles building code approval and enforcement differently. “So we’re trying to take all those subtleties into account,” said Paulette Pitrak, deputy executive director at NESPA.

“We’ve been reviewing their state codes ... and we’re looking at how their code officials are handling VGB enforcement,” she added.

Once all pool facilities have been accounted for, NESPA will provide posters, PSAs and lanyard cards promoting best practices.

Live presentations are planned throughout the region as well.“We also want code officials to network more with each other, ” Pitrak said. “We want to get them talking to one another and encourage dialogue and troubleshooting between states.”