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No lifeguard on duty? Bismarck Parks and Rec seeking summer help

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We can feel the days slowly get warmer and that has people thinking about summer activities. But, Bismarck Parks and Rec is starting to feel the heat. A nationwide lifeguard shortage could impact hours of operations at outdoor pools this summer.

People are getting excited about summer-like weather, and in North Dakota, that means taking advantage of outdoor activities.

“I’ve got a couple kids, so just playing with them, getting them used to rolling around in the grass,” said Romeo Norris of Bismarck.

“Playing outside,” said Lauri Desire also of Bismarck.

“Taking my grandkids to the zoo, and going swimming,” added Jodi Schilling of Mandan.

But a nationwide shortage of lifeguards has some communities scrambling to open a summer staple. Bismarck Parks and Rec says they’re in a unique situation.

“It’s a little different for us, in our situation we have four pools that will be open in the summertime. The Aquatic Center, the BSC Aquatic Center or our indoor pool, still obviously has water in there and we need guards to guard that. And then we have three outdoor pools that we need guards for,” said Mike Wald, facilities and program director at Bismarck Parks and Recreation.

Lauri Desire is a foster mom and says that taking her kids to the pool is one of their favorite activities, and if pools shorten their hours due to a staffing shortage that means spontaneous trips to the pool wouldn’t happen.

“Oh no, that would be awful if we weren’t able to go the times that we wanted. Sometimes, you know, you wake and, ‘Oh, it’s a nice day let’s jump in the car and go,’” said Desire.

Bismarck Parks and Rec says that they aren’t concerned about needing to shorten hours right now. They have three more lifeguard certification courses planned before pools are set to open in early June. They will reassess where they are with staffing after those are completed and they have a better idea of how many lifeguards they will have.

If you’re interested in taking the lifeguard certification course, you can go to the Bismarck Parks and Recreation website for more information and to register.

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