For our interview podcast, Child Safety Source, we speak with people who dedicate their lives to water safety. This time, we’re speaking with Richard Kauffman. Years ago, Kauffman suffered a tragic loss. His 3-year-old daughter, Kelsey, fatally drowned in a public pool. This happened while she was eight feet away from a lifeguard and while in the care of her babysitter.
In this episode, Richard spoke with Life Saver Pool Fence President Eric Lupton to tell his story and discuss his ongoing mission. This interview was recorded on June 15, 2018. It was the 25th anniversary of his daughter’s death.
Richard Kauffman, The Kels Group: The Drowning Warriors
As you’ve learned from the video, Richard is on a mission to spread awareness about the epidemic of fatal drownings and nonfatal drownings. After his loss, Kauffman founded The Kels Group. Kels is named in honor of his daughter, Kelsey.
The Kels Group (aka Drowning Warriors) provides a platform that gives a voice to those who do not have one. It spotlights water safety experts and provides research and data that will help to prevent other tragedies.
Overall, the goal is to form a network of professionals in order to educate the general public about how to prevent drownings. This is all done through The Kels Group’s official website and the podcast “Drowning Warrior Weekly Spotlight.” In each episode of the podcast, they shine a light on a warrior on the front lines of drowning prevention and water safety. You can learn more at this link.
As we often say at Life Saver Pool Fence, drowning is preventable. We support the mission of Richard and all the Drowning Warriors.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with Eric, Richard.
Below is a Direct Transcript of the Child Safety Resource Interview with Richard Kauffman from June 15th:
Eric Lupton: And that’s it. We are live on the Internet! How are you doing?
Richard Kauffman: I’m doing fine Eric, how about yourself?
Eric Lupton: I’m doing really great Rick, so I’m really excited to have you on. Real quick, Rick Kaufman is the founder of the Kels Group and Drowning Warriors and this organization was inspired by the fatal drowning of his daughter 25 years ago today.
Today is the 25th anniversary of Rick’s daughter Kelsey, passing away in a public pool, 8 feet away from a lifeguard, while under the supervision of a babysitter. And it’s just a terrible story and one of the longest, probably one of the oldest I would say. I’ve heard you know most you know people I’ve talked to, who have lost someone. Have been more recent. So I think that’s really interesting, and I think it’s really special that you chose the 25th anniversary to talk with us, I really appreciate that.
Richard Kauffman: Now, well I appreciate you Eric and all that you do with lifesaver pool fence and everything I’ve learned about you recently in your company and what you guys stand for. Not only the education and what you put out. The wealth of information and meeting a lot of, I’ve met some of your other dealers and their inspiration and what they do and so I really appreciate everything that you do, in the drowning prevention and water safety space.
Especially with your podcast here, because it’s the people that you have a wealth of background experience. And everything that they can bring to the table and then using the medium of the internet. Because 25 years ago, if you remember you know dial-up and America Online. And you know it’s really expensive and so the internet was not, it was just getting started. So our outreach 25 years ago was pretty much just in our own backyard and local community. But my daughter’s accident didn’t make the national headlines and news. We got cards, letters and coverage from all over the country. But yeah the internet, and with what you’re doing just makes a completely different impact. Allowing you and all the other organizations out there to reach people that they probably otherwise wouldn’t.
Eric Lupton: So was there anything I missed that you wanted to be covered in this story, of how it happened 25 years ago?
Richard Kauffman: No no you really touched on everything. I just want to say, I just want to say you know I wrote a blog post this morning. I posted, it went out, well I wrote it yesterday. But it went out this morning. But I just want to bring attention that you know it’s not about 25 years later. It’s not really about me or my daughter’s story that the message that I try to get out. But I mean I’m, the story is important because I talk a lot about you know, who’s your child with or who’s watching your child. And in my case it was a babysitter, and I had a pool I was a father of two children. One 8 and then Kelsey was 3. And we had an in-ground pool and as a father at that time in its family, we thought we did everything right. We thought we did everything just as we should. You know we, I remember speaking to my daughter. My oldest daughter was in swim lessons, and the babysitter was taking her to swim lessons during the summer at our local pool. And you know of course you know our younger daughter was 3. She went the summer before she had attended some of the swim lessons. And we had checked with the swim instructors there. With the city and everything. We didn’t have, at that time we didn’t have a YMCA in our community or anything like that. So that was the only place that she could go at least locally for any type of swim lessons that we were aware of. And I remember a person, I remember the conversation as we wanted to check to see if we can (unclear 4:11). And they told us no she was too young. And from what I remember they told us that she’d have to come back you know at the age of 5. And we didn’t know any better. So um you know we just left…
Eric Lupton: And I mean to your credit, the American Academy of Pediatrics at the time, used to tell people that 5 was the age to enroll kids in swim lessons. And you know even back in 87 89, you know we used to rally against that. Because we knew that drowning is the number 1, at the time number 2 unnatural cause of death for kids under 5. So most kids who drowned have already drowned by the time they reach 5 years old. So to tell people to wait until five, I always thought it was um was probably catastrophic. I mean how many people like yourselves got that advice and followed it, and it turned out poorly you know.
Richard Kauffman: Right right well you know we’re just an average parent, I mean just the average Joe that walks down the street goes in the Walmart. And so we look at these people that run swim schools, and teach things and they tell us this, and so we look at them as experts. And so why should I question what they tell me. And in hindsight now as a parent and when you know looking for somebody to teach, whether or not it’s our public school system or wherever your children go. In other words who’s your child with, who’s watching your child? What are they teaching and the thing about it is what we found is, and that I find since then that when I’ve asked that, usually if you ask those questions a little bit further you’ll find that these people will tell you that they don’t believe and that a child should start to swim for whatever reason. Like with the infant swim rescue and resource you know starting as early as 6 months.
If I could have known that and they were around in 1993. I had never heard of them. And so from that standpoint if my daughter would have had that you know ability to be able to do that, she would, I believe that she would be here today. And so as an expert or as people like that, you know if they were aware of that you know being out there even if they don’t want to teach that or they don’t want to take children that low, or that young. They should I think. As professionals they should do everything that professionals to do, is give the parent the necessary information. If somebody wants to go out and have that education they should at least supply them the information. Leave it up to the parent to determine where to go who to pick and choose to do, you know go from there but that was never given to us. Now maybe it might have been because they were totally unaware of it. I don’t know you know, what was, you know what their reasoning was.
But like yeah that’s one of the things I talked about a lot is you know, you know just as a parent you know ask questions and if you hear some there’s, you know the thing about it is there’s no wrong question to ask these people. There’s only wrong answers and if you don’t agree with their answer, with the Internet what it is today, do your research. Do your due diligence. Go out there and find, and that’s a lot about what our messaging and what we talked about is. Is you know because I you know what is it safe kids coalition says you know, 50 %of the parents I believe don’t concern themselves. They either don’t care or don’t concern themselves or don’t believe that you know drowning will occur. And so a lot of this is, you know I go back 25 years ago before today. If I was to sit down with you Eric and I had an in-ground pool, and we had a chain-link fence back in 1993 was a top-of-the-line chain-link fence. And you know we had 2 gates, neither one of them had a lock on them. We never put a lock on our gate and so people could come and go. They weren’t self closing, self latching. The fencing company never explained any of that stuff. And those gates were around then. And just you know not… I think my microphone might have just kicked in here. I don’t know that, if you, can you still hear me all right?
Eric Lupton: I hear you fine. Yeah.
Richard Kauffman: Okay here we go. And um, just want to make sure because just for some reason my microphone just kind of switched out on me here. So and, okay good. And so you know so even though these were fencing companies, they never explained to me when we put in that new fence around our pool. And I was not aware of anything called you know barriers. You know layers of protection, had no clue whatsoever. We weren’t concerned about drowning. And I was a good father. And I believe part of the problem is if you sat down with me 25 years ago to talk to me about putting in you know, one of your fences you know I think part of the problem with parents today is they don’t believe it’s going to happen. So in other words, you know we don’t, we all have opinions on how people parent but we don’t want anybody to tell us what we should do to protect our children. I think that’s how I might have felt 25 years ago. Because I was a good father. I was always there with my child. But she always wore those water wings, those floaties you know the blow-up ones that you know you can find every place today. And so when she told me that they weren’t allowed. Never having any clue that of a false sense of security that that might have gave her.
I mean we learned so much about her accident 25 years ago. The link the only answer we don’t have is how she wound up in the pool. We don’t know. Did she jump in, push it, get pushed. Did somebody throw her you know, how she got from you know. We know how she got from the kiddie pool area to the big pool. And what all transpired but how she actually got from the side of the pool into the water, have no clue what happened there. And you know that will be one that I guess after I’m dead and gone, she can tell me exactly what happened. That’ll be when I’ll find out.
Eric Lupton: How old was she?
Richard Kauffman: She was 3 years old. She was actually two weeks before her fourth birthday. Her birthday was, is July 3rd, when she would have been four. And so we had a foundation 25 years ago at the time. You know we realized there was many mistakes made in the CPR. From what we had found out through the paramedics, the hospitals, Children’s Hospital. But again you know at least CPR was performed. So I don’t, you know I don’t want anybody to take something away from that as a negative. Because you know there was a lot of things that were done right. But at the same time you know there was In other words I guess I look at it this way. Oh it, they always say well if the moon and stars align right then everything’s fine. Well in this case the moon and stars aligned against us on that day and it was just one little mistake on top of a mistake on top of mistake, all combined together to really cause this, you know this accident in the outcome that came about 25 years ago. So CPR was a real big part of what we did after that. Providing people with CPR and the lessons of free training of which then what I learned with CPR, and then also learning CPR I had an opportunity in 2013 and actually performed CPR on my wife when she had a horse riding accident. And basically was blue and broke 11 ribs, punctured lung scapula, two brain hemorrhages, broke her back in 7 places. And so I was I performed CPR and she’s here today.
So from that standpoint the importance of CPR you never you never know when you might need it could be a drowning, could be something else. But you know what we know, you know the thing about it is, is my daughter’s accident 25 years ago, if that didn’t happen I probably would never, I wouldn’t have known CPR in 2013 most likely. And so that’s just how important it is to learn these things. Whether or not you believe an accident is
going to happen or not. But just to know it and but not wait for something to happen before you take action to you know, try to try to change things or make a difference.
Eric Lupton: So Kelsey was with a babysitter. How old was the babysitter?
Richard Kauffman: You know I don’t really recall. I think she was probably in her 20s. She was, when she started watching our children she was married, but she had no children. And then eventually shortly after I believe Kelsey had drowned she started you know, she had a family of her own. Not a lot of contact with her. We did, I owned a business in town for about 20 plus years. I did make connections, they did come into my place of business, my storefront and everything. And you know I forgave her. She broke down fell on the ground crying. You know I can’t imagine the pain. And I hold no ill-will against her. It was an accident there was mistakes made. And Michael, you know and I’m looking at possibly reaching out to her as we move forward with some of the things that we’re doing. And we’re focusing a lot on babysitters, and trying to provide training to babysitter’s around water safety.
My wife and I are licensed foster parents. And we we’ve had as many as 6 foster children in our home. The one thing that, will we go through foster care and there you know…So essentially we’re a babysitter I guess you could say. That I find very ironic because they’re really in your face about safety, about you know everything about child safety around the house. But when it comes to a swimming pool, the only thing they want to make sure is that you have a fence, so that you in other words you comply with the local zoning laws or whatever that is. Other than that, they provide no training whatsoever when it comes to pool safety. And here they are worried about…They provide us with so much other safety training you know. We have to know CPR. We have to do first aid. We have to do everything and all the, you know hotlines, and keep our medication locked up. You know everything that we have to keep, you know away from these children to keep them from, you know to keep them safe. But then if I had a pool in my backyard, they don’t even come and inspect that. They don’t really seem to care that much. And that I find that you know to be very odd. You know from that standpoint. So we’re talking with our organization that we foster through, and looking at maybe start providing some training, things like that, about water safety, and putting some emphasis on you know if you feel it’s just as important to keep your drugs locked up, we can’t keep our medicine. The same thing with like just the average everyday Tylenol or cough medicine or you know halls, you know cough drops. We have to keep those out of reach of the children. And so from that standpoint. But I can give complete access to a toddler you know to a swimming pool? And you’re not concerned about door locks, alarms? I mean we have door locks we have door alarms, not because we have a pool, but because they tell us we’ve had autistic children, these kids can get themselves out of a safe. And I you know we have infant safe door locks that I can’t even open. And we’ve had autistic children 10, 12, 13 years old in here, that can just get themselves out of that door just like it was you know opening up can a peanut butter or something. And I can’t even, and I can’t even you know get myself into the door.
So so that, I find that that’s very…In today’s society with what we know about you know, the drowning being the leading cause of accidental death of children between ages one to four. And the second for you know for children you know, up to you know 15 years or under 15. You know there’s not that whole lot of concern. And I find that to be disturbing. You know 25 years later after my daughter’s accident, and you know we’d, like I said earlier we had our own foundation we did a lot of work, we provided things for volunteer emergency squads such as PD boards. Because we live in a rural community. I live out on a farm and if I call the emergency squad, I get a bunch of guys and pickup trucks that show up here. And so from that standpoint, and then eventually a squad will show up and the likelihood that we found out 25 years ago, the likelihood that an emergency squad would show up with the you know, once up for adults one-size fits all. But when it comes to children you need you know, separate PD paddles, PD boards, tract tubes. All these things and a lot of times the volunteer squads didn’t have those. So we provided tens of thousands of dollars to the area of squads to provide for those. But you know we we ran that foundation for about eight years, and then we shut it down following you know the breakup of my marriage and the divorce.
But then for about 15 years I kind of, I wandered, I reinvented myself many times and just was searching for something. And in about three years ago I started looking back into the drowning. I felt like I was being called come back to the space. And in and take you know what happened 25 years ago, and then I started doing some research on the numbers. And in 1993 from what I remember the numbers were like 4300 drowning’s in the United States. And over 400,000 worldwide. But is that today, or at least according to the most recent numbers is around 3700. You know drowning’s in the United States and around what 372 or just over 370,000 worldwide. So my opinion the needle hasn’t moved a whole lot in 25 years. And so that was rather disturbing to me.
Eric Lupton: And even despite those numbers, you know that foster care system you talked about. You know that’s just a symptom of the way culture under appreciates the threat of drowning. We have other things to be concerned about. But it’s not the foster system’s fault, you know the foster system is just living in you know a nation that doesn’t really fully appreciate you know, how serious a threat drowning is.
Richard Kauffman: Exactly, and I think that’s you know, what really kind of, I felt like what was calling me back, and then about three, about a little over three, four years ago I started and you know I come across the NDPA. You know the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. Started looking at them following some of their information wanted to go to their first educational conference several years ago. But I talked myself out of it. And the reason why I talked myself out of it because my daughter drowned in 1993. And I felt like what you know people might be saying well, I’ve actually had people I mean just to tell us you know, I mean people in my own family, because of what I’m doing they tell me to get over it it’s been a long time ago. That what I’m doing is unhealthy. But you know I just ignore it because they don’t understand. You know they’re they’ve not walked in my shoes. And I believe what I’m doing is extremely healthy. Because you know I’m going on with my life, but at the same time I’m doing something positive, trying to bring something you know positive out of something that’s so negative.
And then for about you know 15 years after we stopped our foundation, we really didn’t, I really didn’t do anything. I worked a lot in the grief space. And talking with families and parents of lost children. I told my story to you know many many people. I’ve been interviewed on the BBC radio. I’ve been you know with our local TV stations. I’ve been with some national TV stations. And so you know so from a standpoint you know about grief and about things. I’ve been able to tell my story, and in my daughter story. And so but then I felt like I was being called back to this space, and so you know that’s when I started looking at the ndpa, you know many other foundations and organizations. And because of the internet what the Internet is able to bring to that is just you know open my eyes to just how big the problem was. Because in 1993 I knew children drowned and I could read the numbers nationally. But you know to be able to share the stories you know it just wasn’t there. I mean you know if you didn’t hear about it as much and as as we go on we hear about it a lot more. I think some of it’s kind of like my heightened awareness right now. Because you know it’s like when you go buy a new car you know. You you buy one and you think hey I got the only color. And then you go down the road that’s like you see you see everybody has this car in that color and you thought you was being really original. So you know I think at one point in time, we kind of go through life with blinders because we’re not really aware of it. So we don’t notice it as much and then also once we become aware of something, we see it, we start seeing it and noticing a whole lot more. And so I believe the messaging here, is what’s really really important to you know find some type of messaging.
Something that will begin to resonate with those 50 percent of the people that really don’t care, or are concerned about it. Who are like me, because I thought it was a good father, and you know if you tried to sell me a pool fence I can tell you I could probably give you you know 50 million objections why I shouldn’t really have one because I’m a good father. I’m always there why should I spend the money to do this. All I have to do is comply with the bare minimums of what the law and zoning and things like that in Ohio, and my local community tell me what I have to do. And then that that’s all I have to do.
And I you know there was an article. I get, I’m sure you get Google alerts right Eric you get all the Google Alerts? I have one set up for Ohio and there’s actually a big new brand new pool that was scheduled to open in Ohio on Memorial Day. You know like with you know they have they have like 11 lifeguards. It’s a city it’s a municipality pool. And it’s like a seven, $7.5 million pool complex. Well a state, a state inspector well evidently they had this in these plans. And part of their main gate going into these plans, the plans did not call for a self closing, self latching gate. And they were so and then prior to the grand opening a state inspector came in and shut them down, because they didn’t have the gate. And then in the the person with the city municipality said well nobody through all our plans, and everybody approved our plans, nobody brought this to our attention. And then he then he made the comment he said but most city pools and public pools like this, the main gate to the pool area does not have a self-closing self-latching gate. Because it’s, because it’s a manned the gate.
There’s a person there going back 25 years, my daughter was put into a kiddy pool which did not have a self-closing, self-latching gate the gate was left open. That’s, and so she was able to go from the kiddie pool area, which had a fencing. I mean the pool was inside the you know the defense area with the large pool. But it was fenced in to be separate but the gate was always left open in order to have a self-closing self-latching gate. And so here it is 25 years later and people who are still in charge of our children and pools like this, still don’t get it that you know you have a manned gate, or somebody watching a gate we are if we’re all parents we know how fast we can turn our back and be and be distracted for a split second. And bam here comes a little toddler. You don’t even see them walk by you, and the next thing you know you’ve just given them complete access, because you have a man gate. Which is open to human error. We all make mistakes. We don’t intend them to happen but we make mistakes. And and that, I find that very ironic 25 years later some of the mentality of these people that run these facilities are still the same way. And actually I’m going to share that post here today because I find, you know I find that you know 25 years later with a 7.5 million or whatever budget to build a brand-new pool. So I want to thank that state inspector for shutting them down, and forcing them to put in the proper gate. Even if it was missed on the plans, that’s why they, that’s why they do inspections. Because people miss things.
Eric Lupton: 100 percent, and you’re so right you know. Anything that’s left to human error, I think is too big of a risk. I always say that there’s no way to 100 percent drown proof a pool or a child. And that’s a more (unclear 24:43) you put in place the closer to a failsafe system you get. So you know the mandate you know combined with a self-closing self-latching gate you know it’s just a safer system. (unclear 24:59) 100 percent.
Richard Kauffman: Yeah I mean you know and that’s just that’s just one piece of the puzzle. And that you know as a parent of 25 years ago, if you would have told me that, you know I’d probably be thinking just like the guy that’s running that pool today. Because he thinks that he can put a 16 17 year old kid on the gate. He should trained lifeguard and probably a very professional trained lifeguard. But again, you know if he’s clicked in that little click or counting how many people because they can only have so many people in in the facility. So he’s keeping track of what he’s doing I mean he’s multitasking on many different levels, and how simple would it be for a child to slip by him or you know thinking that well that child you know with mom and dad, your mom and dad are gonna keep, but the mom and dad get distracted and then where that kid go? That kid wants to immediately go to where the water’s at the toys in the pool because that’s where everybody’s playing and having fun. And so and it gets right past them up by the gate. And so from that standpoint I just I just you know people’s philosophy sometimes it takes me back to that you , that’s why I say the reason why I’m wanting to get re-engaged here and involved, is because over 25 years I haven’t seen you know as much movement as what maybe I would have expected. But again there’s improvements and I think everything’s moving in the right direction, the education what a lot of these organizations do. You know I was invited here to go down to Kernersville North Carolina for their water safety day, with Darlene Haskins and a William her husband is one of your dealers. And so you know in there in the Greensboro North Carolina area. So you know very very passionate family. They don’t have like personal experience with that, but they’re very passionate about you know making sure that nobody has to go through what I went through, or you know thousands of thousands of thousands of other people do.
And then you know Paul de Melo I met Paul Demelo at the NDPA conference. You know great guy what he’s doing, tragic story you know magnified you know so much more than what my situation is. And you know I’ve met so many others and I don’t you know I and if I don’t mention somebody I apologize, cause you know there I’ve fostered a lot of new friendships. Very tragic stories and I’ve learned a lot, that you know just in my short few months here being reengaged with a lot of these people, and with the direction I want to go. And so the Kels group basically is named after my daughter Kelsey, that was her older sister always called her Kels. And you know part of that Kels group is our, is building a platform in you know to be able to give a voice to those who no longer have a voice. Because I believe that’s the messaging because trying to reach those people who thought like I did 25 years ago. You know how to use it how do you communicate to them that’s what I’m really trying to figure out. Because I’m really trying to communicate to myself and when people don’t want to listen, you know that’s that becomes a problem. And you know I’ve actually had people tell me that it’s a parenting problem. And it’s like you know what it’s a parent, well yeah because you know they’re not watching their children. You know it’s easy to pass blame on you know, and say it’s a parenting problem but you know until you actually until it happens to you. And then I just look at and say so you’re telling me I was a bad parent 25 years ago. No that’s not what I’m saying and I’m like well yes you are. And so you know and time to just change people’s mindsets to understand because I look at it as like an iceberg okay. And everybody knows that you know what is it ten or twenty percent of you know the iceberg is above water. Everything else is below the water and I look at it and say we’re reaching the ten or ten percent or whatever, that’s above the water. But if 50 percent of people aren’t concerned and don’t care, those people are below the water line and they will always stay there.
So they’re already drowning, they’re just drowning waiting for an accident like this to happen. Whether or not it’s a drowning and I know like yesterday, you and I talked about you know chilling in hot cars I mean and then you know you look at all the different ways that parents make simple small little mistakes or forget, or because they’ve got so many things going on in their life, that they just walk out of the car, or walk away from a pool or answer a cell phone or answer a text message. And next thing you know it’s that quick. And I talk a lot about the seatbelts. You know we all put seatbelts on in our car. Why do we do that? You know I’m you’re you know you I know you remember a time that we didn’t have to wear seatbelts right. And then I know when the law came out I went for years and didn’t do it. I didn’t want to be told that I had to wear a seatbelt. But now I put seatbelt on its second nature. You know so did I put the seatbelt on because I didn’t want a ticket or did I put it on because you know I I wanted to you know maybe survive till tomorrow? And one of the reasons why I put it on is because my, I start having grandchildren and my children you know grew up with this law, that you know they understood this. So they told me hey dad or hey grandpa you need to put your seatbelt on. Well now I do and I don’t even think about it. So the laws so those laws have really changed my behavior. Same thing with car seats. And then you know Mothers against Drunk Driving with three strikes you’re out. A designated driver just like the designated driver is or like our water watcher. You know a designated person to watch the water. I mean so the messaging I think is you know is there. And it’s like but you know, how do you communicate to those 50 percent because those are people that will never reach until it’s too late and then you know they come in and become part of our group or organization or our club that nobody really wanted to be part of.
Eric Lupton: You know with seatbelts, I think that all the time now, especially in the last couple a years. If you wouldn’t own a pool, I’m sorry, if you wouldn’t own a car without seatbelts, then don’t own a pool without a pool fence, without measures of protection. I think that that idea resonated with people. And your point about the messaging, about mothers against drunk driving, and about you know secular tickets all of these other kind of PSA messages we’ve had a few that have gotten some kind of penetration right. We have pool safely does simple steps to save lives, and pool (unclear 31:23) which I like. We have the safe for three safe for pool safe for water safe for kid. Which I like. There’s layers of protection which we all know. There’s a handful of them out there but there’s not to your credit there’s not one that’s really taken a national kind of syndication or natural saturation where it’s really caught on. And I don’t know if that’s a marketing issue. I don’t know if that’s a phrase issue. I don’t know if that’s a cultural issue. But you know we don’t have something like stop drop and roll for a fire safety. When it comes to drown.
Richard Kauffman: Right and you know, and so you know I’ve been in business for over 30 years and you’re a business person and usually typically for business people entrepreneurs or whatever, you know our main focus here is to find a problem and solve the problem. And then and provide the tools and so I look at drowning. Water safety and drowning is a very broad area because it covers so much to do with water. Because all you know everything from infants to home in home, you know bathtubs, you know cruise lines, the fishing industry, the oil industry you know that have oil rigs.
You know everything that you have, they all have water safety drowning prevention all the way to you know USA Swimming everything. And so from from that standpoint I look at that and I say so I’ve really looked at it and try to break the problem down and take it down to even you know what is the problem here. And the problem here I believe, and I’m thinking like myself I’m not a highly educated person so I’m just trying to put myself in that frame of mind where I was 25 years ago. And then how would I communicate to myself 25 years ago. And if I can figure that piece of the puzzle out and begin to look at that. And then I can break that and then I begin to target those 50% of the people that really don’t concern themselves. When I go out and I talk to families and talk to people, I I find that they say oh yeah I’m terrified of drowning but then they don’t do anything about it.
And then they’d say well I just don’t believe you know. It doesn’t happen that much and then I’d say let me enlighten you. So you know trying to find that messaging to to tell people that it can happen to you just as easy it did with me. And then you know and and with Bode Miller you know as as the facts are coming out about that. They were in the house talking and she just just slipped through a doorway and outside you know and got outside and in a pool. So you know so these people with that public pool here in Ohio that doesn’t want to put a self-closing, they should look at that story. And say okay here she you know this was you know she got through a doorway and into a pool area and so and look at all these other stories that go along with that. And then usually I find…
Eric Lupton: Is that what happened? The last I heard, and I heard this the day of the drowning. But I read originally that there was a pool party. So are they now deciding the kid was inside the house?
Richard Kauffman: Well there may be on a pool party going, on but they went to a neighbor’s house this is what I got. Because I set up Google Alerts updates are coming out about this I can begin to learn, be able to share this as I…
Eric Lupton: Yeah just to back up, for anybody who doesn’t know, which I think everybody in the water safety community knows. But outside of our group, Bode Miller is a gold medalist in the (unclear 35:01) winter Olympics. And he was a commentator for the 2018 Olympics. And him an his wife had a 19 month old daughter and two days ago she tragically drowned in a backyard swimming pool. And so that’s what I’m talking about.
Richard Kauffman: Yeah and I think originally they said there was a pool party there may have been some type of gathering. But evidently, you know they went into the neighbor’s home inside the house to speak with them, and and then while they were talking their daughter somehow got out the door. So if there was a gathering of people such as a pool party, I’m imagining that probably people going in out of the door all the time, and she probably just walked right out the door unbeknownst to them. Which you know can happen. You know we were talking about car seats other things and so just kind of a little bit of a story here about my youngest son who’s now a freshman in college. But you know when he was about two, three years old maybe I was cooking hamburgers in the kitchen and walkers, we used to be able to get walker’s that had wheels on them. You can’t buy them unless you find them in a garage sale, but you can’t go to the store and buy them.
So I had a walker had wheels on it and you know he’s in the kitchen, just you know doing his little bumper car thing that he did. And I’m at the stove cooking hamburgers and next thing I know you’re I hear this boom boom boom boom boom. Well he got too close to the basement stairway and fell down the stairs. And just that quick we’re ten seconds before he’s behind me, while I’m cooking hamburgers and within seconds he was laying on the floor of the basement. You know wasn’t seriously injured or anything because I don’t know how many stairs 15 20 25 stairs he went down.
So he probably did who knows how many flips and somersaults and came out of the came out of the Walker and was laying flat on his back. And so so from that standpoint you know that that right there can show just how fast the child can get. If a child is mobile they can move how fast they can go from point A to point B. And you know if if I had a you know and we had a at the time we didn’t have a pool.
Because following our daughter’s accident I actually hired a contractor come in, and he bulldozed and dug the pool up and we buried it, because nobody else wanted to swim in it. Nobody else wanted to use it. So several years went by and it just kind of, you know just was an eyesore. And so we just decided to get rid of it. And so but if I still had my pool you know he could have easily went in his walker and went the other way. And and then went out that door, and instead of going down the stairs, fall in a pool and then most likely I probably would have looked everyplace before ever checking the pool. Because you know just like most parents my child won’t do that.
And you know, we want to believe our children won’t crawl through a doggie door and have access to a pool. But you know I know if I was a little kid there was a doggie door you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going through it. Because that looks pretty cool to be able to go through a dog…
Eric Lupton: I talk about this all the time, a lot of kids go out doggie doors. It happens all the time. Real quick (unclear) says my man Rich my new friend, bond forever. Eric ask him the tough questions how and what ways we’re not getting done missing the water safety. So yeah Mr. Paul’s point, in what ways are we missing the mark? How are we not getting it done?
Richard Kauffman: I believe we are getting it done. You know I guess I guess the point of this is it’s a personal thing with me. You know we need to do it faster more quickly. But how do how to do that I think with the Internet today, with the accident internet gives us the availability to reach everybody okay. Whereas before the Internet we didn’t have that ability. We could not I mean we’d have to go Direct Mail door-to-door beat on doors and it would have took you know millions of millions of people. But today with the internet you can stay here as one individual person, put together campaigns put together some type of program. Or as a collective group of people you know all the organizations together, be able to put a messaging and be able to target laser target people via the internet that have swimming pools. You know you and I were talking about the Facebook advertising.
I mean you can go right into Facebook and target people who have interest in swimming pools, they have interest in safety, they have interests in swimming that are children, that are new mothers, that are new fathers, that are families with children who have swimming pools. And so we can get very laser targeted messaging, and you know and from the standpoint of a marketing and my background is in you know business and marketing. You know it’s an average of what seven eight touch points somebody has to see your message before they take action. So you know if we if we just focus on setting our booth up at the County Fair, we’re seeing the same people all the time. And then we trusting on word-of-mouth. Well everybody knows that if I do something really bad they’re gonna go tell ten people. But if I’m doing something good, a lot of times they you know they they agree with you and say hey great job, but they don’t go tell anybody. But if I turn around and I do something and I offend somebody you okay, or if I do something that might upset them. They’re gonna go tell ten people. And so from this standpoint you know you know I just think that if we’re going to say we’re missing the mark, which I don’t think we really are. But but it it’s just like if we want to accomplish more this, I don’t know if this is proper English. But if we want to accomplish more and more faster, or quicker, then then you know I think that’s where we might be missing then, looking at the bigger picture of what the Internet can offer. With like what you’re doing here.
I mean because this goes out onto the Internet and it’s there. And anytime and it becomes a searchable asset, that is an asset of life saver pool fans. But it’s also an asset for drowning water safety that goes out there that you know two years from now if somebody like me decides to start searching something on the internet guess what? I find this video. That might give me one, that I can glean one golden nugget from that can maybe change my direction, change my life, protect somebody for me to make a difference in my life. But if I don’t do those things, and I don’t you know in other words look at this space and say dominate this space. I know one of your Facebook post not too long ago you finished the book Crush It I think you said right. You know with Gary V. I listen to him all the time and I really you know, I mean he’s all about domination and grant cardone and his book TEDx. And you know about dominating the space that you’re in. And I really think if that’s the case just like click it or ticket, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, they dominated the space they got the message now and they got it to millions of millions of people. And that’s kind of our messaging what I’m looking at, say with the Kels group and then aka the Drowning Warriors, because my shirt here, I don’t know if you can see it but it says I’m a Drowning Warrior that’s my superpower. Oh can you see it here?
Eric Lupton: I saw the top of it. Yeah I got it. That’s really cool.
Richard Kauffman: Yeah so it says I’m a drowning warrior, that’s my superpower. And really my superpower is you know I can wear this shirt and has the word drowning. And if I wear this out it’s amazing. When we wear this shirt out the attention it gets, people look at us kind of funny sometimes. Like what oh but you know if I wear this out to a pool just had the word drowning, I think brings awareness and will make people concerned. So if I wear this to a beach or I wear this to a pool, you know people are going to see that, and they think drowning oh yeah well I’m around water. Drowning, it can happen. And so you know part of it as being what I’m saying here is, we fight for people who no longer have a voice. But at the same time it’s an it’s a fight every day. And so it’s about messaging about building a movement and creating a movement. And focused on reaching the masses and reaching a lot of people, and building a platform.
And because one of my goals over the next decade in ten years is to reduce drowning by fifty percent. Which means that we you know going from roughly 3,700 down below 1,500 in the United States. And not only exists in the United States but worldwide. Which I think maybe, I think in a 10 years to reduce drowning in the United States by 50% is very very possible, I think it is possible and without probably as much effort or work as what we might think. But the other part of that is I think from a worldwide standpoint, might be much more difficult because we’re dealing with their world countries. We’re dealing with people that you know there’s the infrastructure of the education, the things, the tools and the people just aren’t available. So for us to make that big of an impact from a worldwide standpoint might be tougher. But from the United States I think it is totally doable to redo, and set a goal to reduce those numbers by 50 percent. Once we hit those numbers let’s go after the next set. Because as long as there’s water on this earth, I, we’re never going to really end drowning you know in some.
But we can we can in you know in other words we can end drowning as we know it. Which is what the drowning that are preventable okay. Such as the backyard pools you know where there’s you know public you know we can bring awareness to it. And we can do that I mean accidents are still going to happen. You know one way or another whether or not somebody drives a car. I know you’re down in Florida. I know one of the biggest problems is, you know people, you’ve got all those what the I don’t know what you call those canals, or whatever you call those in Florida. But I guess people drive off into those and they drown in their car and kids drown and I said so you got a lot of other issues there in Florida that we don’t have here in Ohio. And I think in Ohio we have so used, so I think your state Florida and other states like Florida probably have a much height, more heightened awareness of drowning than people here in Ohio do.
Because you know our swimming season is very short. You know three four months.
Eric Lupton: Even though drowning has long been the number one cause of death for kids under five or under four, in Florida I still don’t think people fully appreciate the level of (unclear). I just don’t think they quite realize. I think there’s a (unclear) going on. Because it’s so common, it doesn’t break the news, because it’s not unusual enough to be newsworthy. It’ not like a tornado or something out of the ordinary. And at the same time because it doesn’t make the news, people don’t know about it. So it’s kind of a weird (unclear). And I just wanted to say Stephanie Marie Robertson who is fantastic, writes, the biggest help with getting drowned out there, is having pediatricians talk about it. I am thankful that my sort of pediatrician works with me and tells every new parent and movable child the risks of drowning and gives my information out. She started a foundation called Nathan’s Water Wings, after her son passed away and I think she’s right. I think pediatricians putting the word out is definitely a key component (unclear). At least in the US.
Richard Kauffman: Right right oh yeah I totally agree with what she’s saying there. I mean you know that to have to have professionals who see our children all the time. And you know having them acts, have access to this information to be able to give to the people when they come in is a real key. Again it’s about the messaging you know not just the internet, but flooding every avenue that we can do with the messaging and getting the people because you know that that I thinks where we’re going to make the biggest impact. And we’re getting there and we’re doing things. But I guess you know you know going back to what I was saying is when I look at 25 years ago to now, I guess I expected more and maybe we have a lot more. Because for about 15 years I was, I just spoke in my local community, did some things.
But I really wasn’t an advocate I guess you would say, like you know for about 15 years. Because I didn’t know I didn’t know where my place was. I didn’t know I didn’t know what to do and then I was there was also a fear component, because I felt like you know people are gonna say why now, why 25 years later. Why didn’t you do this 25 years ago? Part of it is I feel very, there’s, I look at the accidents that happened today. That in some cases are very similar to my accident. If I would have done things 25 years ago and would it be doing what I’m doing now what those accidents have happened. So I feel guilty. Last weekend I went down to Dayton to an event for Jessica Knight. I don’t know I actually heard about this accident through Paul Demelo. He shared a video they went there from Ohio, and they went to Florida on the family vacation. And I believe it was last summer and her son drowned. And she found him, she performed CPR he survived but he’s now going through hipper bariatric you know oxygen therapy and a very very tragic story.
I went down to Dayton and met her. She’s all by herself really, doing this whole thing. And you know and I told her I says you know you wouldn’t believe how many people are aware of your story and when I told her about Paul in Florida sharing a video from a year ago she started to cry. She started she had tears and it hit me. And she asked me, she asked me a question that I hadn’t been asked for in a long long time. And as I shared my story, and she says how did you survive that first year? And I just told her that I was numb which I don’t think I could (unclear) I mean I think most parents would probably agree and say yeah you go through that was numb. But I’ve really reflected back over 25 years and the answer was my faith. I survived it because of my faith, even though I don’t remember how I got through a day to day to day. But you know I believed that I would be with my daughter again. And that’s what I believe.
And so that but at the same time, now it’s time to take you know these things and put them to action. So why now 25 years later? Well I believe God was refining me for 25 years that you want to say. I reinvented myself so many times. From a business owner I was an investment bank with Chase Bank to driving semi trucks traveling the world, meeting people. To you doing the other things I’ve done in business and owning an antique store, learning internet. You know learning everything from you know internet marketing to everything I’ve done over the last 25 years, I believe has done nothing but prepare me for this spot that I’m at today. And so that’s why somebody says to me so why 25 years later? That’s what I would say.
But you know her son Lee Lim is going through you know a tough time. And and that breaks my heart because that’s why I you know I I don’t do this for myself, and I don’t do it for my daughter. I do it because I see her pain. And her pain reminds me of my pain and I don’t want anybody else to go through that pain. And because it was it was real simple because she told me and shared with me if she would have known some of these things years ago, you know or before that she would have made different decisions that day. Well whether or not she even would went on she said she was more concerned about going to Florida and her son to being eaten by an alligator, because of the media attention that you know got what that one accident there a few years ago. And so you know so she was more concerned about that than she was about her son being in a pool. And she was there with other family members. And it was you know similar situation where she just lost track of him for that split second, and not knowing to look in the look in a pool or a body of water first, before you look other places.
Eric Lupton: Paul (unclear), one of his best friends lost is daughter out of a doggie door leading to a backyard swimming pool. Which what happened shortly after was quick drowning. Way too many kids are still drowning, it’s a world epidemic. (Unclear). We have to do better and can do better we need social media, TV, billboards (unclear) everywhere. And it needs to be all year round not just summertime. And continue to take a look at what ages, where and why this is happening more and more all over nothing’s changed. Education at daycare system is ongoing. (Unclear) for everyone (unclear) not to be talked about. I agree with that completely.
Richard Kauffman: Yes oh yeah yeah. And you know and I think what he’s doing down there in Florida and with his organization is just awesome. And I was hoping to win of those motorcycle he was giving away.
Eric Lupton: I bought 2500 tickets for that. I was hoping to really get that thing.
Richard Kauffman: You bought how many? 2500 or 25?
Eric Lupton: I bought 20 tickets it came up to about 500 bucks.
Richard Kauffman: Oh 20 okay. So yeah it’s like oh boy, I mean but with what he’s doing I mean that I mean he’s got a strong message. And not just Paul but everybody does. Just like you know Stephanie and all the others that watch your show here. And then that are also out there that are busy working every single day 12 months out of the year, you know 365 days a year. They live they breathe they eat, you know drowning prevention, water safety because they understand the importance. Unfortunately you know you know part of what I talk about is reaching out over the last several years to many people and getting crickets. And you know that in and it is in and it might be in some cases where these people have stuff on the internet and they’re no longer involved. They no longer do anything because people start foundations just like we did 25 years ago. And we and they stop they give it up because you know they maybe they can’t go on with the work anymore, and there’s nobody really to carry on their mission so they stop doing what they’re doing. And so in that case it might be the case.
And I’ve met through my business and everything, I’ve met other people have been referred to me because you know when one person comes to mind is, I work with the MDA in Cincinnati (unclear) district association, with a large project here in the state of Ohio. And things that they’re doing but you know they referred me to the spina bifida you know organization in Cincinnati. And because of my store my grounding story because she’s a grandmother of a grandchild that drowned in a backyard pool at a family barbecue. And you know in her story is the family doesn’t communicate. They don’t talk, they won’t. They can’t, it’s happened several years ago, they cannot and will not go out and become an advocate and speak about this, because you know that I guess I guess you know feelings are still very raw very very difficult.
And they’re still pointing fingers and playing the blame game. But but you know that but how many people are like that when I look at the ndpa the numbers, and I look at how many organizations are out there, and then you know how many I don’t know about. But you know I’m sure there’s hundreds and hundreds of organizations. And I’m only aware of a small fraction 30, 40 maybe that I’m aware of. And so and they all you know it’s like how how can we find them all. How can we get people that you know even if they don’t want to get out there and tell their story? But to become I guess a silent partner if you will you know of the movement. And because and then share something else’s story if they can’t share their own.
Eric Lupton: So, (unclear) actually I was gonna ask. How do you get the shirts? The shirt is cool. I want one.
Richard Kauffman: Basically what I mean you know we can get you a shirt that’s not a problem. We can get everybody a shirt. One of the things is with our website and with our organization, we are building out a membership site okay. So part of this is we’re going to be giving these shirts away for free through our membership through other programs. But obviously if people want a shirt we can you know we can definitely put up a link where they can go and order a shirt.
I think it comes in all the way up to 5x or 4 or 5 X which is pretty good size. And then but you know then with our membership site, we want to do you know I talked with you yesterday about that. We want to begin to do educational webinars putting some basic information together. Kind of like what you’re doing the podcast this is very similar. But but you know either putting out the education and then giving that information. So again trying to reach those people that are like I was 25 years ago. Maybe just giving them little snippets of information and then giving them some place where they can go find this.
And begin to build partnerships with businesses like Life Saver Pool Fence, the technology piece because I you know 25 years ago the technology exists today that could have prevented my daughter’s drowning. It wasn’t around 25 years ago and the technology is advancing so fast that you know after the ndpa conference I received an email from a guy who’s who has patented a new design but doesn’t know how to launch it for the cruise ship industry. And he’s got a design that is a handheld item that lifeguards can basically what it is that it’s a net system that shoots out of an air cannon. Then if somebody falls off cruise ship it shoots out an air cannon. Because a cruise ship takes how long to turn around, and by the time they get turn around and pick somebody, if even if they do turn around, they can’t find the person because there’s it’s like finding a needle in the haystack in open water like that right.
So he’s developed this cannon that would shoot off the back end of a ship that you know covers like a thousand square feet. And it’s like a net of floatable netting it holds hundreds so in other words if a ship even sinks you can get hundreds of people on that. But he’s developed a handheld system that he’s in the process of getting patent right now, that can then a lifeguard can do in anyway if a child, or people are stuck in a (unclear), he can fire that thing out from the beach side by the water side to reach those people and then get in a net, and then he can pull they can pull that in. Great I mean so here’s a guy that is developing technology, developing system that you know is trying to bring this to market. But you know we need more people like that but how many people out there are developing technology that are engineers they have the ability to do these things. That can really affect and make a difference so that’s kind of a direction that we want to go, and begin to partner with businesses and help these people you know do this. And part of this is what the t-shirts is again is just the awareness. Just like a water watcher tag, but the t-shirt is just making aware that drowning happens and I’m a warrior forgetting anybody can, we are all warriors so I you know I don’t own the name or anything like that. But it’s just it’s just a heightened awareness and then you know saying that’s my superpower.
And then we have plans of bringing in an actual character, a superhero character that we want to do. And then actually this my grandson I share with yesterday every super hero character has to have a sidekick. So come up with this idea over the last weekend and says well grandpa he says your superhero which will be you know the superhero’s name will be Drowning Warrior, and needs a sidekick he says call Vest Boy. So he’s a he’ll be a character a childlike character that will wear a you know like a Coast Guard approved vest. You know in a character type thing and then you know developing a line of Education where the Drowning Warriors therefore you know the parents and for other things and for children. But then the vest boy will really target towards or that character whether or not that will be his name or not. But that’s the direction are we going so that might be kind of our educational piece.
Eric Lupton: I love the name Vest Boy a lot actually. That’s really good.
Richard Kauffman: Yeah and you know my 10 year old grandson comes up with this idea. And then of course he says every and he says then he has to have his own sidekick because he has an annoying sister. He says and then a character then so you know here comes the Drowning Warrior with his sidekick Vest Boy and his annoying sister Water Winged Girl is what he said. But I said well you know you’ll start spending a lot of money because these characters are what like five six thousand dollars to have made. So they’re not really cheap. But you know but we’re paying for a lot of these things out of our own pocket. And so it’s kind of like trying to move things so that’s kind of where the t-shirt deal and the membership part is that way. It makes our messaging and allows me to do what I’m doing you know on a full-time basis, but be able to get out there to reach more people and get the messaging. So yeah I can definitely supply you with a link in order to get a t-shirt if that’s what you want to do. And then we are getting ready to hear hopefully in the next few weeks to really get our membership portion kind of launched. And get that going and begin to give a lot of value. And not only have that started working and putting together things from a co-branding you know situation where through membership and driving that. And then getting physical items physical things to reminders that with a messaging and getting people.
Even if it’s a pop socket or you know something like a pen you know that people can leave at a counter a desk. Everything that’s some type of co-branding stuff is just and giving this stuff away through the membership. And then building a platform that you know hope maybe we can have tens of thousands of you know readers to our blog and an email list that when we co-brand something we can get your message we can get you know all the other organization messages you know in front of so many more people. And begin to use the power of the Internet. And also reach doctors and and be able to target pediatricians and maybe in rural areas that maybe don’t have the access to you know a YMCA and other educational information. Especially if they’re not attending conferences you know that might you know deal with these. Because if they don’t go to an educational conference that deals and gets it and they and they don’t themselves get educated about drowning then they’re not going to educate their patients and their people about drowning.
So so we have to educate them first so then they can begin to educate others.
Eric Lupton: Absolutely I mean 100 percent. The legendary national hero Bob Krat writes water safety is a national effort in every country. (unclear) community life saving society SLSA, all of our foundations Alliances (unclear) talking about. Why is there no National Water Safety Agency funded by the federal government. That’s an excellent question I don’t have an answer to that. There isn’t a Department of Water Safety right. And he’s right you know there’s a Canadian life saving society, society Australia has theirs but the US for some reason doesn’t seem to have a nationally funded drowning prevention organization.
Richard Kauffman: If you go on Google and you search the term you know the keywords water safety you get everything about drinking water. You see very, you don’t see anything about I mean maybe buried pages down. But on the first page of Google it’s all about you know (unclear) Michigan drinking water drinking water or whatever. And you know our bottled water tap water and not about pool safety. And I totally agree I mean again I think that’s part of the messaging part. And getting that or that you know that messaging but chain begin to change the laws and change things. Pulling some of these products off the shelves because you know you can get on TV today and see a national company you know advertising their product, and showing the kid things (unclear) on his arm jump it into a pool today. That’s 25 years later after I put those on my daughter they’re still out there. So if we’re out there educating people about not to wear these, and then they’re getting messaging even though that might be kind of a subliminal because the messaging might be about buying you know tickets to a water park. But they’re showing you know kid jumping in the pool with mom and dad, you know with water with you know blow-up floaties on their arms. Then you know that’s kind of a conflict in our messaging where…
Because people regard these people as you know experts they regard these people as upstanding businesses within the community. And then we come in and say don’t you shouldn’t wear it so they’re really getting this kind of conflicting messaging from the media. And so I believe that you know that’s got to be a push to get to these companies and say hey pull that advertising off. You know you know do you realize what you know you’re what you’re doing is counterintuitive to what our messaging is. And so let’s get let’s all get on the same page you know with these businesses and companies that are, that have the multimillion-dollar budgets to put out the you know the advertising. Let’s get them advertising in a responsible way.
And then we can turn around, then I think that then our messaging when we start telling people because they’ll stop seeing these things. And then if we can get the laws change to where we can basically have a lot of these products maybe all off the shelf, you know to get the government and Congressman and everything behind that. When you’ve got the Walmart’s of the world and all the big companies that just put millions of billion lobbyists fight the fire it again actions. Then you know which is gonna take millions and millions of people. And a lot of money and wants to do it. And but you know Mothers against Drunk Driving did it. And all the other organizations that have changed laws have done it. And so from that standpoint you know we’ve got the people we just you know you know, maybe with like Bob saying have a national you know water safety organization. That you know and I in in in that is government. I know we got pool safely Gov. and we’ve got the ndpa, you got USA Swimming you got all these other organizations that (unclear) which are all doing great work. And they need to continue doing their work.
But again having kind of a you know like a head at the top you know and saying okay here’s let’s bring all this together. And so but you know I guess the biggest question is who’s gonna lead that. Maybe Bob can, here we go oh me? That’s usually what happens because I when I was at the ndpa conference in April, I, Pam Canal out of Fort Worth Texas you know her right? I spoke a lot with her we went out to dinner and lunch and everything. Next thing I know now I’m working with Adam on a project for New Orleans next year and she wants to be involved also in the 2020 conference and in Fort Worth. So yeah I mean I guess
if you speak up too much next thing you know it’s just like any organization you’re gonna be volunteering it and say well now you’ve got a project to work on. So I guess watch what you say right sometimes otherwise you’ll find biting off more than what you can chew. But no that’s what I’m here for and I’m here I you know I like (unclear) so use me and abuse me. You know that’s you know that’s what I want to do.
Eric Lupton: Stephanie Robertson writes, I feel an insurance company should pay for swimming lessons. I know I’m dreaming, that would never happen. But it’s not, but it’s just as important if not more important than going to a dentist or doctor for vaccines. You know I’ve thought insurance companies should give rebates or lower insurance rates for people who install a pool fence, or install other pool safety measures for protection. I’ve been saying that for a long time. And I think some do but I don’t think it’s across the board. You know I don’t think that all insurance companies. At least they don’t advertise it that you can get a lower insurance if you install a pool fence. Which makes sense to me. (Unclear) house, if you put up cameras (unclear). It seems like if you make your pool safer that would be in their best interest.
Richard Kauffman: Right right well yeah just like if you go buy an Audi car you know that’s, or one of those cars it’s much you know built around safety versus buying a you know another car that’s you know much less expensive. But may not have all the safety features. You know insurance companies, but you pay a lot more money for the product but in turn you save some money on the insurance. And so the insurance industry already does that. But I you know that that was a point in what’s what you’re saying I you know I I kind of assumed they did that. I guess that’s one little tidbit of information I wasn’t aware of. Because I know when I had my pool all my insurance agent told me, carry a million dollar umbrella is what he told me and bare minimum. Because in case a kid climbs your fence and drowns you’re going to get sued. And that’s what he told me but other than that. So we put up a fence based on what the bare minimums were, based on what we could afford. And that’s what we did and we know but you know I but I think Stephanie as far as finding you know you know swimming lessons, and having a national organization that you know maybe somehow can fund some type of you know, programs that might do you know swim lessons and get everybody on the same page. Because if I wanted to attend ISR in my childhood I think the closest instructor is in Dayton. Which is like 35, 40 miles from me.
And so and then the other part of that is the adult swimming. You know USA Swimming has that scholarship that I think pays for you know instructors become adult swimmers. You know my wife today she’ll probably hate me for saying this but she doesn’t know how to swim. And you know she doggie paddles. But you know I told her I says you know she needs to learn to swim but she has a fear of water. You know she gets on any boat or ship she’s always got her life jacket on. I mean she just has a natural fear of water and my understanding when it comes to adults versus children are you know have a natural I guess
Eric Lupton: Curiosity.
Richard Kauffman: Yeah yeah yeah they don’t in other words children just naturally are not afraid of water in most cases I guess. And whereas adults you know at some point time they build up a fear and then so it’s a whole different type of instructor so that’s a whole other different element. And in the you know I guess the closest adult struck, instructor that teaches these adult, I mean really teaches these adult type swimming lessons, the closest one I think is in Indiana. Like maybe 60 70 80 miles away and so in order to you know I guess you know adults can go to our local Y and take lessons. But you know but most of those instructors are really trained to teach children not adults. Because I guess it can take an adult couple two three four five six weeks or longer maybe just to get from sitting on the edge of the pool to get in the pool. And so it’s a whole different element and I think that’s that something because as parents you know we need to lead by example. So if we want to be safe well safety can’t you know we need to lead an example so if we expect our children, and we expect other people to do things and we need to lead by example. And show them the example of what we need to be. And then I think people will begin to follow that too.
Eric Lupton: For sure. So to wrap this up tell me you know kind of how people can find you, how people can help you. And then after that I want to ask you what recommendations you have for parents.
Richard: Well first of all you can go to thekelsgroup.com okay you can reach me there. We also have my Facebook page which is under The Kels Group. So you can go to Kels Group home you know or Facebook backslash or forward slash the Kels group. Also on Facebook under my name Richard Kauffman personally, if you want to find me there. We’re on instagram under Richard Kauffman. Another section of my sister business which is Kels marketing and then also we’re on twitter under Kels marketing, and with the focus on water safety under Kels group. And so you can email me at you know firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s my business website or business email address and all my websites got my cell phone numbers and other things that they could reach out. I’m available to anybody that wants to chat talk whatever. You know just from the standpoint you know my background is in business so you know getting you know helping people to begin to run their nonprofit organizations. I strictly only work with nonprofits so showing them how to begin to run their nonprofits from a business person standpoint, and think like a business person. And even though they’re nonprofit but and in working them.
I’ll give a little tidbit of information that people can take. If you’re, if that we do a lot and we talked a lot and we get some success with and I’ll use this I’ll just to frame the example this way. Let’s say I have a foundation here locally and we’ll just call Jill’s foundation. She has an event coming up it might be a small event let’s say she needs a hundred t-shirts. Just you know like something like I’m wearing here. And she wants her message put on a t-shirt, we would go we actually go she gives us some referrals, we actually get on the phone we call we call and then we make the contact with the business owner. And we begin to build a partnership between the nonprofit and the business owner. And what we do is we find a business owner that will underwrite what this nonprofit is doing. So that way the nonprofit has an events where they can have little to no expense at all. And then then we go in put that together so let’s say Jill’s foundation wants 100 t-shirts. I go to mom and pop pizza ok when you know my background in business when I would have a non-profit come in, I would either just write the check or I would donate goods and services never knowing or understanding what my ROI is going to be on that you know. But because it’s feel I can pat myself on the back and I feel good because businesses want to partner with nonprofits.
Because but this is all about driving traffic because the nonprofit knows people that the business doesn’t. And we can allow the business to get in front of a new potential clientele. So if I go down here to say mom and pops pizza shop and I approach them about, and I can show them how you know Jill’s foundation needs a hundred t-shirts. So let’s co-brand the 100 t-shirt where it says you know Jill’s foundation doing ABC partners with you know mom and pops pizza shop, wear this t-shirt in and received 10% off of every pizza. Then you know people buy pizzas every single week right. Most do I know we do a lot of times and so I could wear that t-shirt so that gives them the reason not only to wear the t-shirt, but wear the t-shirt and we can drive traffic and becomes measurable to the business because the business is going to see the return. And if they had a 20% return rate on a hundred t-shirts which cost the business $1000 dollars, and then they get a return of you know let’s say the average pizza they spend $20 bucks. So they give a 10% off because somebody wears a t-shirt it’s kind of like wearing your coupon on your on your back right. And so I wear that shirt in and then they give up two dollars. So they sell pizza for $18 and let’s say the life of the t-shirt lasts for 10 weeks. And they have 20% to 20 people they drive over $3600 worth of business over a 10-week period that they paid a thousand dollars for.
And so from that standpoint Jill’s foundation now has a hundred t-shirts which she didn’t have to pay for it let’s say the cost of the shirts were 10 bucks if they really had lots of you know different type of artworks and colors and everything. So you know if she saved $1,000 if she chooses to sell those shirts at $5 a piece she not only makes an extra 5 bucks but you know or whatever she wants to sell shirts for or just give the shirts away. But that’s an expense that she doesn’t have so there’s a little there’s a little nugget for everybody who…Because everybody wants to do t-shirts right. So here’s the way you can do your t-shirts for your next event and have somebody else pay for them. Just show the benefit to the business so because the business says if I can show the business how he can profit, then you know the likelihood I can justify the expense and then once he measures that and he sees the results from a campaign like that, I could go back to him over and over and over again and get more money, more product. And you don’t even need to be a non-profit to do this. Because the app because the business can code that is advertising which now becomes tax deductible for the business so you don’t necessarily have to be a 501c3 to be able to you know say that way they can give $1,000 for a taxable donation. The $1000 for the t-shirts goes to advertising and so that’s a way to get around that. If you are struggling as a person who wants to start a non-profit but people are saying hey if you’re not but then you know if you’re not a charity I can’t support you. Well here’s a way that maybe you can go to a mom-and-pop business because mom-and-pop businesses want to do what the big corporations to do.
But they don’t have the budgets but you can show them how it can do it. So anyways that’s my two cents there and I’m sorry and I totally forgot your other question.
Eric Lupton: My question was (unclear) a piece of advice for parents. You know to keep their pool or their children safer (unclear).
Richard Kauffman: Oh boy I tell you that’s a that’s an awesome question because there’s probably a million question a million different answers possibly that question. Thinking with what my messaging what I talk about is, when I taught, I would say for the average parent out there the average person who’s like me, that whether or not they have a pool or they don’t have a pool. Because I think a lot of the people that don’t concern themselves with drowning probably don’t have pools. But to understand that drowning, to understand that it can happen to you. Because most people don’t believe like myself I didn’t believe it would happen to me. Most of the stories today it’s you know I never thought it would happen. Bode Miller even said I never would have dreamt that this would have happened. You know so just understanding to that but you know but they know but they’re afraid of you know, they put their child in a car seat. Because they’re afraid of you know they want to give that child every opportunity to survive car accident if the jerk coming down the road is texting goes left the center hits me head-on. And so you know those are circumstances that are out of my control. And understand that annoying person’s actions I can control are my own. I cannot control the actions of my child regardless of their age. I can’t control the actions of the other people that I expect that might be watching my child. And in knowing that you know the only act as I can control is what I do. And understand that it can happen to me and that that would be my message to you know probably say you know the parents. And that’s a tough one to get across to a lot of people.
Eric Lupton: Perfect well thank you so much for this Rick. I really enjoyed this. I really a [appreciate you coming out it’s been wonderful. Again especially giving that this is the 25th anniversary of Kelsey passing away. It means a lot truly, you decided to come today and to talk with me.
Richard Kauffman: I appreciate you having me this day and I’m you know got a lot of things to do this day. And you know they’re places to go and you know that’s but at the same time I really really appreciate your time and everything. And then everybody in the drowning space. I truly appreciate every single thing that everybody does from the bottom of my heart. And you know in in just keep doing what we’re doing in you know we will get to where we want to be you know. Whether or not you know just hopefully we can get there a little faster. I guess that’s what I’m after and because every day that goes by is just another chance for you know to reach another person that maybe wouldn’t hear about this and so I appreciate everything you do Eric. And I will definitely you know anybody I talk to they’re gonna know about what you guys do with life saver pool fence. And so I will you know because I stand behind what you guys do and the layers of protection and your education you know 120 percent and so so I’m there with you man.
Eric Lupton: Alright well everybody go check out the Kels group Drowning Warriors, Richard Kauffman, he’s doing great work. So thanks Rich and we will see you guys soon. Have a great day.
Richard Kauffman: Great, thank you.