Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterworld

The American Red Cross and aquatics specialty firm Counsilman-Hunsaker are collaborating to deliver a new Aquatic Management Program.

With this partnership in place, St. Louis-based Counsilman-Hunsaker becomes a licensed provider of the Red Cross Aquatic Examiner Service. Through this program, facilities and operations are evaluated based on Red Cross standards, receive recommendations for improvement, as well as access to resources to help with development. The partnership equips Counsilman-Hunsaker to provide consultation on how to provide Red Cross training and use Red Cross certifications as a part of its operations services portfolio.

The Counsilman-Hunsaker Operations division will offer this service along with others it provides.

“[We are] basically like a Red Cross liaison for all our clients,” said Kevin Post, principal and director of aquatic operations for Counsilman-Hunsaker.

This program, expected for launch in time for summer, can provide services for new and existing facilities. It leverages the Red Cross’ research- and science-based expertise on safety, risk management and certification protocol, and Counsilman-Hunsaker’s experience in consulting with and facilitating programs for facilities.

Post said the two organizations had long provided overlapping services.

“It was more of an ‘Aha!’ moment when we realized how complementary our business models are to each other,” Post said. “We realized that it would really help the industry to partner up and make [the program] seamless — kind of a one-stop shop.”

Services will be customized to each facility and can include best-practices guidance, enhanced risk protection through additional insurance coverages, mitigation and litigation strategies, and operational auditing and personnel training and management support.

Through the partnership, the organizations said, they hope to set the standard for customized aquatic management solutions. They said the collaboration comes in response to the increasing burden placed on aquatics operators from health and safety regulation, certification management, compliance demands and risk management, along with the higher attendance rates and more complicated water complexes seen today.

“We are grateful for the input and feedback from many aquatics customers that a comprehensive risk-management program would solidify their commitment to the Red Cross and our leadership in the lifeguard market,” said Catherine Barry, director of product development for the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has served the aquatics industry for more than 100 years and reports that it certifies more than 300,000 lifeguards annually. Its standards are developed with the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, which includes subject-matter experts with diverse backgrounds in the sciences, medicine and academia.

Counsilman-Hunsaker was founded in 1970, and focuses on design/engineering as well as operations.

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