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Coverings 2024 Earth Day Activations will Honor Planet and Promote Sustainability



March 26, 2024 – Atlanta – Coverings (, North America’s largest and preeminent international tile and stone exhibition and conference, has released a curated selection of sustainability-centric show activities to commemorate Earth Day, April 22, and celebrate the first day of Coverings 2024, taking place April 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Earth Day activations and eco-focused programming at Coverings 2024 will unite thousands of industry professionals from around the world to collectively promote sustainable design, building and installation practices through ceramic tile.

Attendees will be able to participate in Coverings 2024’s Earth Day festivities through a wide selection of learning sessions, workshops, displays, tours and philanthropic programs to showcase the many eco-friendly aspects of ceramic tile, offering showgoers numerous options for exploring ceramic tile’s vital role in helping build a greener future. 

Earth Day activations taking place at Coverings 2024 will be kicked off through Coverings’ partnership with Clean the World, a global leader in sustainable, environmental and social impact solutions. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the “Clean the World” initiative by transforming used soap bars and plastic amenities that the hospitality industry would otherwise discard into lifesaving, essential supplies for communities in need across the globe. Showgoers will be able to volunteer a few minutes of their time to produce recycled hygiene kits April 22 in Hall B, Booth 1017 at Coverings 2024. The completed kits will then be donated to a local philanthropic organization in Atlanta.

Another notable Earth Day activation at Coverings 2024 will feature renowned mosaic artist David Arnott, who will be showcasing his work in the Artisan Showcase in Hall C, Booth 7259. Arnott will craft a tile mosaic representation of the planet in celebration of Earth Day. His artwork will be crafted with leftover tiles from Coverings’ exhibitors, transforming potential waste into a truly original and beautiful piece of art. The completed mosaic will then be donated to a local Atlanta organization. Those present will have the opportunity to meet Arnott and witness his creative process and the beauty of sustainable artistry.

Coverings 2024 is bolstering its commitment to sustainable design, building and installation practices involving ceramic tile and natural stone by presenting a comprehensive range of environmentally focused educational opportunities of particular interest to the architecture and design (A&D) community. Attendees can engage in sessions specifically tailored to the A&D sector, such as “Tile Industry Insights: Deciphering Embodied Carbon and Green Architecture and Design,” scheduled for April 22, and partner education like Green Builder Media’s “Housing 2.0” workshop, happening April 23.

These educational offerings are designed to empower the A&D community with the knowledge and tools needed to advance sustainable practices for their projects, making them more relevant and impactful in today’s environmentally conscious landscape. Those eager to participate in the “Housing 2.0” workshop are required to register separately and pay a fee to secure their spot on the session’s designated webpage.

Other Coverings 2024 education within the show’s “Sustainability” tenet will include “Building Resilience for Health” and “Reducing Embodied Carbon with Natural Stone,” which are slated for April 24.

The new-to-2024 Coverings Cares program underscores the show’s commitment to supporting green initiatives, the tile and stone industry, and the local Atlanta community through a donation pool of up to $50,000. Coverings 2024 registrants have the opportunity to select and support one of six vetted and deserving charitable organizations when they register for the event, including

Coverings will donate $10 to the organization chosen by each event registrant, who can then match or exceed the donated amount if desired. The donations will be bestowed to the designated philanthropic causes for the first 5,000 attendees who attend Coverings 2024 onsite.

Showgoers can stay tuned to the Coverings mobile app and digital signage throughout the GWCC for tips on how to make their time in Atlanta as green as possible. Attendees are also encouraged to recycle their show badges in conveniently located bins at the conclusion of the event.

Registered and prospective 2024 attendees can gather more information about Coverings 2024 and its customized lineup of Earth Day activations by visiting Coverings’ dedicated Earth Day webpage.

Learn more about Coverings 2024 and register to attend at no cost at

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Patent Pending Apple Watch SOS Feature Could Prevent Drownings



Patent Pending Apple Watch SOS Feature Could Prevent Drownings

A forthcoming feature potentially destined for the Apple Watch, as detailed in a recent patent application, could serve as a lifesaver for swimmers at risk of drowning.

Outlined in the patent is a capability for the Watch to identify “irregular behavior” and automatically trigger a distress call for assistance.

Apple underscores the alarming statistics surrounding drowning, particularly its prevalence among children, as a leading cause of accidental fatalities.

In the United States alone, drowning claims the lives of over 3,500 individuals annually, ranking as the fifth most common form of accidental death. Tragically, a significant portion of these victims are children.

Emphasizing the critical importance of swift intervention during water emergencies, Apple highlights the dire consequences of prolonged submersion without resuscitation, which can result in brain damage and ultimately, drowning.

A Growing Need For Cost-Effective Wearable Solutions

While acknowledging existing underwater camera systems in some swimming pools aimed at detecting distressed swimmers and alerting lifeguards, Apple notes their costliness and unreliability.

Consequently, there’s a pressing need for a simpler, more cost-effective drowning prevention solution suitable for all types of water bodies, including public and private pools, as well as natural settings like lakes and ponds where installing underwater cameras is impractical.

The patent proposes leveraging wearable devices such as the Apple Watch for broader applicability, increased reliability, and the ability to detect various types of emergencies.

Alerting When Swimmers Are In Distress

For instance, if the Watch detects a wearer who is not proficient in swimming entering deeper water, it can promptly dispatch an alert instead of waiting for signs of distress.

These alerts can be transmitted to nearby devices, including those of friends and family, and seamlessly integrate with existing drowning detection and alarm systems to ensure lifeguards are promptly notified.

Apple Watches already boast capabilities to detect and respond to falls, vehicle accidents, and cardiac irregularities. Heartwarming testimonials featured in Apple’s “Dear Apple” video series show individuals whose lives were saved by these functionalities.

As with many patents from Apple, it’s important to note that not all concepts may materialize into actual products. Nonetheless, this innovation stands as a promising addition for potential integration into future watchOS updates.

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Red Cross Releases Lifeguard VR Training Simulator

New Lifeguard VR Training app released by The American Red Cross provides enhanced surveillance and scanning training for lifeguards.



Red Cross Releases Lifeguard VR Training Simulator

The American Red Cross has been a pioneer in water safety, aquatic science, certification, and instruction since 1914. Annually, its curriculum trains over 300,000 lifeguards, demonstrating its enduring commitment to ensuring the safety of swimmers.

Lifeguard VR Training: A Deeper Dive

Recently, The American Red Cross took a pioneering leap forward with the introduction of their new Virtual Reality (VR) lifeguard training simulator. This groundbreaking technology promises to transform the way lifeguards are trained, particularly in the crucial areas of surveillance and scanning skills, ultimately enhancing their ability to save lives.

At the recent Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP) show held in Reno, Pool Magazine had an opportunity to experience firsthand the innovative lifeguard training simulator developed by the American Red Cross in collaboration with Lucid Reality Labs. Chris Whipple, M.Ed., NREMT, a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the American Red Cross, spoke about the significance of this technological advancement.

Julie Hamlin of Pool Magazine got to try Lifeguard VR Training firsthand.
Julie Hamlin of Pool Magazine got to try Lifeguard VR Training firsthand.

“The Red Cross, already the gold standard in water safety and drowning prevention, is enhancing lifeguard training for surveillance skills with the Lifeguard VR virtual reality tool,” stated Whipple, who explained how the tool will help provide effective scanning and surveillance skills that will assist them in identifying individuals in distress and help reinforce cognitive skills through immersive training scenarios.

How The Technology Works

Lifeguards can access the Lifeguard VR app, which offers a range of unique scenarios set in realistic aquatic environments, from the Meta Quest app store. The technology is compatible with all Meta Quest VR devices. In each scenario, lifeguards are placed on an elevated stand within their assigned zone and must swiftly identify individuals in need of assistance. By blowing a virtual whistle, they signal their recognition of the distressed person. Scores are calculated based on performance metrics that evaluate scanning and recognition abilities.

“The award-winning Lifeguard VR tool uses the best cutting-edge technology to ensure that lifeguards are at the top of their game, keeping facility patrons safe,” added Whipple.

Lifeguard VR App by The American Red Cross

Tackling Real-World Problems

This VR lifeguard training simulator is designed to replicate real-world scenarios with remarkable accuracy. It incorporates elements such as typical water behaviors, drowning behaviors, and the presence of other patrons or swimmers. Lifeguards are also challenged by obstacles like lane ropes and floating features, mirroring the complexities they face in actual pool environments.

Moreover, the Lifeguard VR app provides valuable performance metrics, allowing trainers to track progress and identify areas for improvement. Heatmap data on scanning patterns, along with quiz and identification metrics, offer valuable insights into lifeguard competency at various stages of training.

Lifeguard Instructors and supervisors can now provide dynamic scenarios set in a realistic pool environment to analyze surveillance and scanning skills, recognition of drowning response, and support first aid skills,” explained Whipple.

What lifeguards see when using the Virtual Reality app

By harnessing the power of virtual reality, the American Red Cross aims to revolutionize lifeguard training, ensuring that lifeguards are better equipped to respond effectively to emergencies. This innovative approach not only enhances learning outcomes but also offers a more engaging and accessible training experience for lifeguards.

As Whipple aptly summarized, “With the new Red Cross Lifeguard VR app, lifeguards can practice and hone their skills taught in the classroom. By immersing users in dynamic, realistic drowning scenarios, lifeguards are able to improve learning outcomes while learning in an engaging, modern, and accessible way.”

In an era where technology continues to reshape industries across the board, the integration of virtual reality into lifeguard training represents a significant step forward in ensuring water safety and drowning prevention. The American Red Cross’s commitment to innovation underscores their dedication to excellence in safeguarding aquatic environments and protecting lives.

Photo Credits: The American Red Cross

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SRS Distribution Announces Next Phase of Growth by Combining with The Home Depot to Better Serve Professional Customers



MARCH 28, 2024

SRS Distribution Inc. (“SRS”) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with The Home Depot to be acquired for $18.250 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, SRS Distribution will operate as an independent business unit within The Home Depot, focused on accelerating growth in the Pro market.

Over the past 16 years, the SRS family has become one of the fastest-growing building products distributors in the United States. This proposed transaction will bring together the impressive talent, technology, and capabilities of SRS with The Home Depot’s trusted name and robust platform, expanding SRS’ reach into numerous new product categories and customers.

The proposed acquisition will clear a pathway for accelerated growth with the residential and commercial professional customer by expanding The Home Depot’s Pro capabilities, combining online, retail, and wholesale. The combined platform will open new opportunities for existing suppliers and partners by providing access to SRS’ expert workforce focused on specialty verticals, as well as The Home Depot’s cross-project expertise, product mix, network, and digital assets.

Under the agreement, the SRS senior leadership team will remain with the company to guide its ambitious growth plans. Dan Tinker, President and CEO of SRS, will continue to lead SRS operations under this new structure, reporting to The Home Depot CEO Ted Decker.

“We are proud to be combining with The Home Depot to continue our growth journey with the additional resources and capabilities they will put behind us,” said Dan Tinker, President and CEO of SRS. “We set out to find the optimal strategic outcome for the business, and we strongly believe we have achieved just that. With this combination, the future has never been brighter for our supplier partners, our Pro customers, and our team.”

“SRS’ ability to build leadership positions in each of its trade verticals while generating significant revenue growth is a testament to its strong vision, leadership, culture, and execution,” said Ted Decker, Chair, President, and CEO of The Home Depot. “SRS’ branch network, coupled with The Home Depot’s 2,000+ U.S. stores and distribution centers and comprehensive product offering provides the residential and commercial Pro customer with more fulfillment and service options than ever before. I look forward to welcoming Dan and the entire SRS team to The Home Depot and capturing the exciting opportunity ahead.”

SRS Distribution currently has two private equity investors: Berkshire Partners LLC. (since 2013) and Leonard Green & Partners L.P. (since 2018). “Over the past 16 years, SRS Distribution has successfully grown its business while delivering tremendous shareholder value to its investors and, more uniquely, to
its employees,” said Jon Seiffer, Senior Partner at Leonard Green. “This next chapter with The Home Depot is a logical step in SRS’ evolution and will mutually benefit both companies’ growth prospects for the benefit of all employees, customers, and suppliers,” said Josh Lutzker, Managing Director at Berkshire Partners.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of fiscal 2024 and is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Jefferies LLC. is acting as lead financial advisor, and Goldman Sachs is also acting as financial advisor to SRS on this transaction.

About SRS Distribution

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in McKinney, Texas, SRS Distribution has grown to become one of the fastest-growing building products distributors in the United States. Since the Company’s inception, it has established a differentiated growth strategy and entrepreneurial culture that is focused on serving customers, partnering with suppliers, and attracting the industry’s best talent. SRS Distribution currently operates under a family of distinct local brands encompassing more than 760 locations across 47 states. SRS Distribution is a portfolio company of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. and Berkshire Partners LLC. For more information, visit

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