(WGHP) — Many Triad city officials started their lifeguard training and hiring process early this year to avoid lifeguard staffing shortages throughout public pools as the summer season approaches.

Heather Candelora, the Aquatic Supervisor for Winston-Salem, said early recruitment is the key to fully being staffed with lifeguards.

“I’ve been going to high schools and recruiting lifeguards, and this is the high school, so we’re doing some lifeguard classes,” said Candelora.

Candelora said applying to work as a lifeguard, you get a 28-hour free certification training course that lasts for two years.

During the course, new lifeguards learn CPR, how to save spinal injury victims from the water, and first aid. 

Candelora said pools will begin to open on Memorial Day weekend. They plan to hire extra people for lifeguard duty to make sure no pool closes earlier than necessary or close for a day during the summer.

“It’s to avoid shortages so that we can operate safely and operate all of our pools consistently without any breaks or days off,” said Candelora.

Most cities around the Triad are still hiring and looking for applicants fast. In Winston-Salem, the starting pay to become a certified lifeguard is $15 an hour.

  • Winston Salem has 50 people right now, the same as last year but needs 30 more people to apply to be fully staffed and avoid any closures during the season.
  • Greensboro has a full lifeguard staff, but still taking applications for the next two weeks. 
  • Burlington has 47 lifeguards so far but needs 10-15 more people to apply before opening season.
  • High Point has 6 lifeguards but needs 10 more people to apply for the season.