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Free trainings to certify more lifeguards in Tallahassee

Posted at 6:21 PM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-30 18:21:01-04

A lifeguard shortage is leaving people questioning whether their community pools will be open this summer. To help pools stay open, the City of Tallahassee is offering free training classes.

Right now they're on a day-to-day basis for which aquatic centers will be open, but more people will be able to safely enjoy the pools this summer after new lifeguards are getting certified.

Phillip Pollock swims laps a few times a week at Wade Wehunt Pool. He's glad to have a community resource that he always feels comfortable using.

"I always see people on the guard staff and the directors here moving back and forth to check on things so it does make me feel really good that you know you got a public pool but it's safe to swim in," said Pollock.

To help keep all seven aquatic centers in Tallahassee open and safe, the city's hosting free, hands-on lifeguard training classes. Aquatic Supervisor Leslie Adams is watching 20 new lifeguards go through the first training of the summer.

The class, which gets them prepared to keep people safe at the pools, can cost anywhere between $150 to $350. To remove any cost barriers, Adams said they offer their classes for free to anyone who wants to work at any city pool. She believes this is part of the reason they've been able to hire around 30 new lifeguards so far.

"We're really excited about the progress we've made," said Adams. "We have two more classes after this, so we're hoping to really get those classes filled and be able to open as many pools as possible."

Eduardo Castillo has been a lifeguard for three years now and is using the class to get re-certified. Castillo understands the position comes with a lot of responsibility, but says it's something the class prepares you for.

"It's life or death I mean to keep it honest, so you know the pressure is still there but you also know that at the same time you'll be okay, you'll be trained, you'll know what you need to know for the summer and all the times that you guard," said Castillo.

Tyson Meyer thinks being a lifeguard will be a fun summer job, but said the skills can be used beyond the guard tower.

"The pay and like the schedule," said Meyers. "You can choose your schedule basically and where you want to work and even when you're not here, you can still save someone's life out of the pool like you learn CPR you learn all that."

Pollock is happy to see more lifeguards get certified so he can continue to swim this summer.

"Those numbers mean that there are people in a guarding position so that they can keep the pool open as long as they possibly can," said Polluck.

If you're interested in becoming a lifeguard, Adams said you can still sign up for the next two June classes.

Once the classes are finished and all their lifeguards are certified, Adams will be able to distribute them to the different pools and keep them open on a more regular basis.