As part of an effort to track pool-related issues, the National Swimming Pool
Foundation has started compiling a database of news reports
about such incidents.
The database, which can be accessed by anyone, also includes
information on pool closures and lawsuits related to the aquatics
The Worldwide Aquatic News Incident Database, at wanid.org , has
stories about swimming pool-related incidents dating to 2006. The
database contains stories about drownings, water health issues,
chemical problems, suction entrapments and accidents. It also has
stories about lawsuits connected to pools.
The foundation started compiling the database to get a better idea
of how the world sees the swimming industry, said Thomas M.
Lachocki, CEO of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based organization.
“As we started looking at it, the general conclusion I got
early on was [that] — through the lens of the news media
— we’re an industry that inflicts drowning, disease,
injury and chemical exposure,” he explained.
NSPF has used that information while developing programs to combat
negative perceptions of the industry. One example is the
foundation’s Step Into Swim campaign, in which courses devoted to
nonswimmers are funded by donations from companies in the pool
industry and matching grants from NSPF.
“The Step Into Swim program and having more focus on people
experiencing the benefits of pools has certainly been an outcome of
understanding what’s going on in the world,” Lachocki
The foundation has seen a need for the dissemination of this kind
of information, according to Lachocki. “In conversations
we’ve had in the past with commissioners [of the Consumer Product Safety
Commission ] where they’re trying to understand
what’s going on in the world, they expressed that it would be
good to have all this information in a database,” he
The collection contains more than 2,500 articles and is available
to anyone free of charge for educational use. It can be searched by
country, state, date range and other demographic categories.
“We’re seeing some buzz on it,” Lachocki said.
“We just want to build awareness. When people want to see
what’s happening in their state, they can start pulling out
In other NSPF news, the foundation added four people to its board
of directors. William Kent, owner of Team Horner in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., is returning to the board after a one-year
absence. New members are Rob Butcher, executive director of
Swimming ; Diane Dahlmann, director of student affairs at the
Missouri-Columbia ; and Judy LaKind, president of LaKind
Associates. D. Scot Hunsaker, president of Counsilman-Hunsaker & Associates of St. Louis, was
elected board president, succeeding John Puetz, director of
technology for Advantis .
“It’s really a great mix,” Lachocki said.
“Having a diverse group of leaders, providing their unique
perspectives with good hearts, is really important, and I think
NSPF also announced that the Canadian province of Alberta has
approved the foundation’s Certified Pool/Spa Operator course,
which pool operators there may take as part of their education
requirements. NSPF instructors have trained individuals from
Alberta Environmental Public Health as instructors for the
province’s pool operators.
This kind of commitment by a governmental organization is
“It doesn’t happen every day,” Lachocki said.
“We have dozens of environmental health officials around
North America who are NSPF instructors, but it’s not common
where a whole province decides to go with NSPF.”