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Lifeguard search efforts aren’t cooling down in Tucson

Lifeguard search efforts aren’t cooling down in Tucson
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 8:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The lifeguard shortage continues in Southern Arizona. Pima County pools are no longer taking applications but instead, have decided to close on Sundays due to the staffing shortage.

Staff with the City of Tucson Pools said they are feeling the shortage too. Unfortunately, there are not enough lifeguards to meet the demand but their efforts to find lifeguards aren’t cooling down.

“We started out around 82 staff for 10 pools but we actually like to be around 120,” said City of Tucson Aquatics Manager Billy Sassi.

Most of the pools within the City of Tucson are open year round but this is the time of year where they are used the most.

With the lack of lifeguards, changes have to be made.

“We are kind of running the same hours as we did last summer but some of the pools will be closed an additional day,” said Sassi.

But what is not closing, the lifeguard opening.

“Hope to keep it open on a year round basis because we need staff in the fall and the winter months and then in the spring,” he said.

You must be at least 15-years-old, able to swim and complete a lifeguard class which the city offers for free.

“So you come out of the class with lifeguard, CPR, First Aid and you are set to go,” he said.

Just like Sophia Rojas, who has been a lifeguard for six years.

“I was not a super strong swimmer at first,” she said.

But now she is along with a huge responsibility, keeping swimmers safe.

“Always watching the people that might have disabilities, older people for any cardiac problems or anything that looks abnormal.”

Luckily, Rojas said, she’d never had to save anyone from the water.

“Just yelling at kids to walk,” she said.

Being a lifeguard might seem like a high school or college job, but Sassi said parents and teachers are lifeguards as well.

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