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"It really is a great job to have" Tucson lifeguards prepare for summer hours amid guard shortage

tucson lifeguard shortage
Posted at 7:51 AM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 16:01:27-04

TUCSON, Arizona (KGUN) — As the summer hours for City of Tucson pools begin June 2, the guards are looking forward to starting the summer. But many said it's been challenging with such small staff sizes.

Kati Vidal, who has been a guard for the city for the last six years, said it's hard to have less co-workers because that means more time in the sun with less breaks.

“It’s interesting how much more of a strain it puts on us," she said. "You kind of take it for granted when you do have many more guards and ur like oh yeah I do get a 30 minute break."

When she started, there were 20 guards at the pool. Now, there are eight guards.

"I feel like it's something not really advertised," she said. "Not many people know about lifeguarding."

The city has 10 out of the 20 pools open, and adjusted the operating hours.

"Now we’re closed Thursday through Saturday,” Vidal said.

The city raised the guards' salary to over $15 per hour and opened more certification classes.

"We actually want to still hire about 200 more extra guards this summer so that way we can open for the hours that the community needs,” Sierra Boyer, the public information officer for the City of Tucson's Parks and Recreation Department, said.

A list of the city pools and hours can be found at the City of Tucson website.

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Tina Giuliano is a reporter for KGUN 9. She is a native Arizonan and grew up in Scottsdale. Tina is passionate about storytelling and is excited to work telling Tucson's stories. Share your story ideas and important issues with Tina by emailing tina.giuliano@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.