Raleigh needs more lifeguards to keep pools open

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There's a lifeguard shortage in Raleigh (WTVD)

The City of Raleigh is desperately trying to fill dozens of lifeguards positions ahead of the summer season. Pools are set to open in June.

City officials say they need 45 more lifeguards on the payroll.

An official says the city is considering to close down certain sections of the pool during the summer if there isn't enough staff.

CLICK HERE FOR A LIFEGUARD APPLICATION

The city has posted this ad on its website:
Working as a lifeguard has many benefits: flexible schedule, working as a part of a team, and earning money! Salaries range from $8.25-$9.25/hr. depending on certifications. Hours of operation range from 5:00am-9:00pm at most pools. We are hiring for all hours with a specific need for morning and daytime lifeguards.

In the summer, an average of 500 people a day will visit one of the nine public pools.

Lake Johnson Pool is N.C. State student Tobin Bates go-to spot.

"I love swimming in the summer," he said. "This one is pretty popping usually and most public pools around here are pretty packed on the hot days."

He was upset to learn when the locks come off and the pool opens in June, the city could be scaling back which areas are open.

"There's not a lot of pools around in the area outside," he explains.

The city says there are problems recruiting and training its workforce.

"It's very difficult," said Raleigh Aquatics Director Terri Stroupe.

To start, there is a physical fitness test that only 50 percent of applicants pass.

They will then make $8.25 to $9.25 an hour, which is slightly above the minimum wage, and there's also a cap on how many hours a lifeguard can work.

The city says all pools will open in spite of the shortage.

"I'm concerned, but were trying to make sure we have people at every location so that we have a little bit of everything and have coverage everywhere."

Officials say there's enough time to hire and train people to meet the growing demand.

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