Birmingham to open two pools Memorial Day weekend, calls for more people to become lifeguards

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:58 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Just days from opening, Birmingham leadership said they do not have enough staff to open all public pools.

The city was desperately looking for lifeguards so kids could enjoy the summer at the pool.

“We have enough lifeguards to open, fully staffed two pools,” Ronald Hicks said.

Birmingham Parks & Recreation superintendent Ronald Hicks said it takes six lifeguards to safely open a pool.

He said the board chose which pools to open based on use. Memorial Park and Crestwood pools will open on May 27.

The ongoing lifeguard shortage impacted the country and communities locally.

Hicks explained lifeguard certification only lasts two years; so, in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and no one was swimming in public pools, most of those certifications expired. As a result, the city had to start over building a roster of certified lifeguards.

“We had an orientation this past weekend and had a total of 20 lifeguards,” Hicks revealed.

Hicks said the city was happy about the turnout, but needed more applicants.

The city raised the starting pay from $11.55 per hour to $15.55 per hour as an incentive.

“We have a lot of great swimmers that come, but when it comes to taking the test, that’s when they kind of fall off,” Hicks said.

The lifeguard test includes treading water for three minutes, being able to dive 12 feet to retrieve a 10 pound weight, and swimming 300 meters, according to Hicks.

He said it’s a job with a lasting impact.

“Please know that we are currently still prepping because I believe that that influx is going to come in. We’re still prepping so as we get them, we will be opening pools,” Hicks reassured.

If you’re at least 16 years old, you qualify to apply. There is no age limit.

To apply, call 205-873-9841. Click here for details on pool hours and swim lessons.

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