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Heat wave in DMV region shed light on local pools still in need of lifeguards

Some pools around the region are seeing reduced hours as a result of having fewer lifeguards hired this summer.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Temperatures soared into the 90s across the region on Monday. It was a reminder for some areas in the DMV region that continue to deal with lifeguard shortages as more people headed out to their local pool during this summer's heat wave.

Both the American Lifeguard Association and the YMCA of the USA said the issue has been felt all across the country.

In Prince William County, recruitment to fill open positions is still happening as some pools see reduced hours and the splashdown water park stays open five days a week instead of the usual seven.

"We didn’t have the normal retention we would normally have from year over year," said Prince William County Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Amir Wenrich on Monday. "It was a difficult task to try and get lifeguards to come back. People weren’t sure what was going to happen in the summer.” 

Pools around Prince William County were closed last summer due to the pandemic. As a result, Wenrich told WUSA9 that hiring lifeguards for this season brought on added challenges.

"We weren't able to rehire folks that normally would have been with us in the 2020 season," he said. "The uncertainty we all faced early on in the spring season coming out of Covid into summer, no one knew what it was going to look like.” 

Wenrich added that the county often relied on hiring events at schools to find lifeguards, however, the move to virtual schooling canceled the in-person gatherings.

Now, to help with the shortage of lifeguards, the county has made the hiring process faster and more efficient.

"They can sign up to take a swim test, come out take the test, be interviewed on the spot, and become a lifeguard," Wenrich said.

Other areas around the region have reported similar situations.

Earlier this month, staff in Glenn Dale, Maryland said they were hoping to hire more lifeguards.

While the shortage is ongoing in some areas, places like Prince William County wanted to remind folks that pools can still be utilized during hot weeks like the one currently being experienced. 

"The hours are reduced a little bit due to the lifeguard shortage but just getting people out there and in the water to cool off is something we’re open and ready to do," Wenrich said.

For more information on how to become a lifeguard in Prince William County, visit this page.

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, there's a national lifeguard shortage

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