Washington, DC, June 3, 2020 —The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) announced the launch of the Aquatic Health & Safety Pilot Program. This new program, which is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will assist local health departments in reviewing, revising, and strengthening aquatic facilities’ codes to ensure the health and safety of their citizens in pools, waterparks, splash pads, and hot tubs/spas.
NACCHO selected two local health departments to participate in the pilot program: City of Kansas City, Missouri Health Department, MO; and Cuyahoga County Board of Health, OH. These health departments were selected based on the current status of their pool codes and their jurisdictions’ authority to facilitate pool code modifications. Each health department has been awarded $8,000 to review local pool codes to identify gaps and areas of improvement and to develop a draft action plan on how to address the gaps and weaknesses in their current pool codes. The health departments are encouraged to use CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) as a resource to strengthen local pool codes and engage with local stakeholders to advance pool code updates.
While swimming and other water-related activities help to promote a healthy lifestyle, they are not without some health risks. Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury death for children between the ages of one and four and is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for those of all ages. In addition, recreational water-associated waterborne disease outbreaks have been on the rise for decades, with an associated 27,000 cases of illness and eight deaths between 2000 and 2014. Updating codes at aquatic facilities can improve the standards for preventing and responding to these recreational drownings, water-associated disease outbreaks, and injuries.