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Pools Struggling to Hire Lifeguards

Pools Struggling to Hire Lifeguards

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- Some cities are struggling to find enough lifeguards to work at their pools this summer, creating the possibility that some pools won't open.

"Our situation is dire," said Farmington City Manager Max Forbush, who needs to hire at least eight more lifeguards to open its pool.

Farmington Leisure Services Director Viola Kinney said the pool is short eight to 10 lifeguards for the season. The city is offering reimbursement for taking the certification course and has raised wages to attract more applicants.

Hill Air Force Base is also facing a shortage of lifeguards. It might not be able to open all three of its pools unless it finds 13 more lifeguards, said Sheena Chapman, lead lifeguard. It currently has hired nine lifeguards, or enough to open one pool.

Chapman believes there's a shortage because the job openings weren't advertised early enough.

Pools in Layton and Brigham City worked through the spring to hire enough lifeguards for the summer.

Sylvia Clark, assistant manager of Laytons Surf N Swim, said that with so many other pools in the area, they raised hourly wages from $6.50 to $7.25 to compete.

"We were short last year, and this year we are short again. I don't know if it's just that kids don't want to be lifeguards as much any more," she said.

South Davis Recreation Center, in Bountiful, could use 10 to 20 more lifeguards for the summer, said Scott McDonald, aquatics director. He has enough lifeguards now, but he said 40-hour work weeks get old for high school students who want to do other things.

Brigham City Leisure Services Director Ben Boyce said he was unable to hire enough lifeguards this spring to open the pool for school swim days. There will be enough lifeguards to operate the pool to its full capacity this summer, Boyce said.

Lifeguard applicants must take American Red Cross certification classes. Ogden and Brigham City require applicants take courses through Ellis & Associates, Inc. The cost can be up to $120. Brigham City pays for the certification of its applicants, but most pools require applicants to pay for themselves.

"My thoughts on the difficulty of finding lifeguards is the certification," said Tracy Heun, Clearfield's community services director.

High school and college students have their pick of jobs that have less stress, pay more and do not require certification, she said.

Others say the increase in the number of pools in the area may be stretching resources thin.

"I think it is caused from more pools in the area," Clark said. "Before we didn't have as many pools to compete with, but now there is South Davis, Roy and Clearfield. A kid is going to go to a pool that is closer, with the price of gas and everything."


Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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