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DFW swimming pools being affected by lifeguard shortage

Lifeguard shortage causing some DFW cities to cut pool hours
Lifeguard shortage causing some DFW cities to cut pool hours 01:48

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Several cities in North Texas are being forced to cut back their pool hours this summer due to a lifeguard shortage. 

Experts blame a multitude of issues for the shortage including -- low pay, training costs, a limited working season and lack of interest from teens that's been compounded by the pandemic. 

In Arlington, beginning lifeguards are making $10 an hour.  

As a result of the shortage, the city is forced to open their pools on a modified schedule and close half of their eight pools that are usually open for the summer. Mesquite and Richardson will also make adjustments.  

Nationwide, the American Lifeguard Association reports the lifeguard shortage could impact one third, to nearly half of the countries more than 300,000 pools.  

Arlington Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Venera Flores Stafford says the city will keep making adjustments based on staffing levels. "We'll never be short on lifeguards with the capacities that we have, we'll always have enough on staff because we'll close one pool to open another," Stafford said. "You have kids lives in your hands so it's important and we need people out there that want to do it and have a passion for it." 

Stafford says she hopes as they get people on staff they will be able to expand operating hours. The city is offering incentives -- like flexible hours and higher pay -- in hopes of attracting more lifeguards.

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