Tulsa offering free lifeguard certification course in face of lifeguard shortage

TULSA, Okla. — According to officials in Tulsa, there is a shortage of lifeguards for the city’s pools and they are offering a lifeguard certification course for free to try get more people to do the job.

The city’s pools are due to open on June 4th.

If there aren’t enough lifeguards the city have to stagger the days when the pools can open.

But they hope this new course will encourage more people to apply.

Nick Pond is the aquatics manager for the City of Tulsa and he spoke to FOX23 about the shortage.

“I can’t get enough lifeguards to open up the pool like we did say in 2019, we are short by about half and it’s coming up on June 4 when the pools are supposed to open.”

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The city need at least 25 lifeguards to open all the pools every day that they’re allowed to open and must have 36 lifeguards on the team to be considered fully staffed.

But so far, only 13 people have applied.

That means they would have to stagger when the pools can open to share the lifeguards between the city’s four pools.

“It’s hugely important you know if I had 14 lifeguards even compared to 16 guards I wouldn’t be able to open the pools like I do. As many as one or two guards can make a huge difference.…. it’s of great importance to the community.”

Pond said there has been a national decline in the number of people wanting to be a lifeguard.

“People aren’t as excited to be lifeguards anymore and I don’t know if it’s because the certification costs so much,” Pond said.

He thinks part of the reason might be the certification course – which costs 300 dollars.

And now, with the help of a grant, Tulsa Parks is offering that course for free to try to get more people to sign up to be a lifeguard.

“Me as a 16-year-old, looking at a three hundred dollar price tag, I’d just go do something else, so that’s why we did this and I got a grant from the Tulsa County Bar Association that allowed us to provide this for free,” Pond said.

Pond is hopeful that he can get the number of lifeguards needed.

“I’m optimistic that I can at least get 25, we can make it work, every pool we can make it work, we might have to cut some hours, we might have to close early a few days, but it’s better than every other day like we did last season.”

They’re hoping the certification classes will encourage more people to take the plunge and be a lifeguard.

Those interested in the job have to be at least 16. The certification classes run from May 27 to the 29.

To apply, email Nick Pond at npond@cityoftulsa.org.

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