Fond du Lac pools closed due to lifeguard shortage

CREATED May 28, 2014

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FOND DU LAC - Even on a cool day like today, doesn't a beautiful pool just make you want to jump in? Well Fond du Lac parks says hold on, they don't have enough lifeguards right now to safely staff this pool and their other one. So the rush is on to find qualified candidates.

"The challenge for us is obviously just finding the staff. We keep college kids maybe three, maybe four years," said Renee Wagner, Fond du Lac recreation and aquatic center supervisor.
But Renee Wagner's having less lifeguards stick around for four years, possibly because they don't want to deal with a recent change.
"Red Cross made a change where the certifications went to two years.  So I think that is making a difference for some of these kids. If it's their last year in college, do they really wanna recertify?" questioned Wagner.
After they're hired, life guards take a 40 hour training class on rescues and CPR and they learn areas of the pool to pay close attention to, like the drop slides.
"It's a stressful job. It's not just sitting in the sun. It's long hours," said Wagner.
Fond du Lac's not alone in the shortage.
"Some are. I know Oshkosh, not as bad as we are, Oshkosh was short a few," said Wagner.
Waukesha county parks is still hiring lifeguards, but a spokesman for Milwaukee county parks says they're good to go.  For now, Fond du Lac will open its two pools June 7th. That first week, they'll only have enough lifeguards to staff one pool at a time.
"The staff is top notch and we'll work with our new and younger lifeguards and we'll make it work," said Wagner.
Wagner says life guarding's a rewarding summer job where teens make lasting friendships with their fellow lifeguards and the families they watch over.