COVID sparks lifeguard shortage

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 9:00 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The country is facing many shortages. Some of these come in the form of products or goods. But there is even a shortage of lifeguards now, causing public pools to close.

There have been many bumps in the application and certification process ever since COVID impacted the nation. There are several openings and even training courses offered at Meridian Community College.

“If they want to be a lifeguard, I will get them trained well, have them jump through the hoops, get them trained, because I need lifeguards here, too,“ said Wade Heggie, director of MCC’s Damon Fitness Center. “So it’s just everybody. But yes, a lot of the ones that have thought about becoming lifeguards, they have found another place that pays better, better hours or the pay also.”

The city of Meridian is working hard to try and find people to fill these positions with volunteers here in the community. The city is ready to open the pools. They are just not able to staff the pools.

”Well, one of the things we are trying to do is reach out to the community to see if there is anyone who is certified. And pretty much go through the proper procedures and making sure they are certified to be able to be around kids and be able to handle any situation around the kids and be able to handle any situation around the pools,” said Councilman Dwayne Davis.

Community outreach has been very successful but many people do not think of the workload and the responsibility the people who sit in the tall chair really have. Lifeguards are not there to have fun but make sure everyone stays safe.

“It’s not just a laid-back job like everybody thinks. ‘Oh, you can just sit down and goof around.’ You have to pay attention to these people’s lives,” said Sarah Shular, head lifeguard at MCC.

Meridian Community College offers several course throughout the summer to train and certify anyone willing to take on the task of becoming a lifeguard.

Copyright 2022 WTOK. All rights reserved.