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Being a lifeguard is no day at the beach | My View |

Posted by | July 24, 2017 | Uncategorized


Being a lifeguard is no day at the beach

By Sue A. Herrmann Jul 22, 2017 Updated Jul 22, 2017

In April, my understanding is the pools at Salvador Perez and Fort Marcy parks had to close for a few days because there were not enough lifeguards at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center to staff the city Elementary School Swim Meet. The Perez and Fort Marcy guards had to staff the meet.This wasn’t the first time this year the pool at the Chavez Center did not have enough lifeguards. Earlier in the year, the pool at the Chavez Center was closed, something attributed by Parks and Recreation Director Rob Carter to the lack of a certified pool operator. The pool had to close due to the lack of certified lifeguards, not of certified pool operators. Sufficient lifeguards are required to be on duty during operating hours.The reason is simple. If a swimmer has an emergency while swimming, a lifeguard, not a pool operator, will get the swimmer out of the water and administer life-saving techniques that they are specially trained to do. Without sufficient lifeguards to ensure the safety of patrons, the pools cannot operate. Depending on the size of the facility and the number of swimmers, a city pool needs at least two certified lifeguards on duty at all times. Because of its larger size, the Chavez Center needs more lifeguards to handle the number of swimmers.For years, the city has had difficulties hiring and retaining pool staff. City management always questions why it is so difficult to retain lifeguards. There are many reasons, but here are just a few. First, in order to be employed by the city as a lifeguard, you must first be certified. The certification class, with materials, costs $300 that most applicants don’t have. Second, lifeguard jobs are considered safety sensitive, so pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing are required. There is no recognition of the special responsibilities of the job. Instead, most lifeguard positions are temporary positions making $11.09 per hour.  Read more…

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