EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Pool season is approaching but the City of El Paso is again suffering from a shortage of lifeguards. There are currently 130 on staff but the City needs almost 50 more to be able to open for the season.
Amy Wheeler, parks and recreation and sports coordinator, said there have been many applicants but many do not meet basic requirements. They are working with them if they do not know how to swim and if they do, are making sure they are swim-water ready to become lifeguards.
“We have a lot of people that are interested but not everybody has the ability to go through the actual training, so with the training consisting of it being able to swim that distance, some of them need to actually have that ability to do that with the Red Cross,” Wheeler said.
With seasonal pools opening soon, Wheeler said hours may need to be adjusted due to lack of lifeguards.
“It’s a possibility that we may not be able to increase the hours that we have right now if we do not get enough lifeguards to add more recreational time or to increase the number of people that come in the summertime,” she said.
Bryson Hue is one of the new lifeguards on staff this year in El Paso. He is previously from Hawaii and was a lifeguard in the state for over 6 years.
He is hoping to bring his expertise to the Borderland while also helping to curb the shortage.
“That was another reason I wanted to join the City of El Paso. I feel, like honestly, I can make a difference, you know. We start off small and then hopefully we can get everybody on the same page,” Hue said.
The city is offering incentives to entice people to apply for the lifeguard positions. This includes $14 an hour pay and a $1,000 signing bonus. They are also offering a tuition assistance program to help those who are enrolled in college.
Even with low numbers, Wheeler is assuring families that the pools this year will be well monitored.
“In this particular environment, we have more lifeguards that need to be on stand due to the environment and the blind spots that you see, so as long as the participants notice that the lifeguards are actually on chair or in their designated area this kind of puts them at ease,” Wheeler said.
To apply, click here and search for “lifeguard.”
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