Lifeguard shortage may affect pool openings this summer

Local News
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TOPEKA (KSNT) – Shawnee County Parks and Recreation is in need of lifeguards for its pools and aquatic centers. What used to be an attractive summer gig for students is being replaced with summer internships, summer school and other endeavors, a spokesman said.

“This is a pattern we’re seeing all over the country,” said Dave Allacher, aquatics supervisor.

Ideally, Allacher would like to have 220 lifeguards to cover all aquatic facilities while taking into account summer vacations, lifeguards who have to work around second jobs or sports activities and staff who leave early for college. As of Tuesday, the department had 137 lifeguards.

“There is no compromising on the safety of our patrons,” said Allacher. If we don’t have enough staff on a given day, we may not open a facility.”

Anyone interested in serving as a lifeguard may visit to apply. The pay is $8 to $9 per hour and training is available.

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