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WNY municipalities looking for new fleet of lifeguards before summer so pools can remain open

"In order for us to open all of the city pools this summer, we'll need 100 lifeguards."
Lifeguard at the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center
Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 18:21:32-05

BUFFALO & TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — There is just over 100 days until summer, when the entire family will be able to dip into the pool and soak up some sun.

Before heading out to buy sunscreen, it is important to note that some Western New York pools may remain closed if municipalities are unable hire enough lifeguards.

To prevent this from happening, leaders in both the City of Buffalo and Town of Tonawanda are calling on lifeguard prospects to dip into some training for the summer 2022 season.

Cazenovia Pool in the City of Buffalo

"In order for us to open all of the city pools this summer, we'll need 100 lifeguards," Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc. executive director, Nekia Kemp said.

The lifeguard shortage that was seen pre-pandemic has gotten worse.

Leaders in the City of Buffalo are working on new ways to recruit certified lifesavers as soon as possible.

Only 22 certified lifeguards are on-hand for the city's 10 pools.

"The ages are 16-21. It is a well-paying job. The job pays $16/hour and we are looking for young people that live in every single section of the City of Buffalo," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

Lifeguard training begins in less than two weeks. The schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, March 19
  • Sunday, March 20
  • Saturday, March 26
  • Sunday, March 27
  • Saturday, April 2

The training runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include first aid and CPR training valid for two years. This will give you certification through the Red Cross for two years, as well.

"The best thing about this certification is that this is a certification that is worth about $300 that we are actually offering at no costs to youth who reside in the City of Buffalo," Kemp added.

The city is requiring a $25 deposit which will be fully refunded once the course is finished.

"Based on the square footage of the pool, tells us we need 4 lifeguards on the deck. At any given time though, if a lifeguard doesn't show up for whatever reason, we may have to close a section of the pool which doesn't go over very well with our membership," Town of Tonawanda Parks and Recreation superintendent, Mark Campenella said.

Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center

In the Town of Tonawanda, lifeguards can be as young as 15 years old. Senior citizens can also brush up on their lifesaving skills.

"They start anywhere from $14.75/hr depending on your experience. You can go up to the $16-$17 range or better," Campenella said.

The town hires lifeguards year round.

Youth ages 16-21 years old, who live in the City of Buffalo can apply to be a lifeguard here.

Youth as young as 15 years old, who live in the Town of Tonawanda, as well as senior citizens, can apply to be a lifeguard here.