Lifeguard shortage keeps pool closed

The public pool at the New Milford Borough Park sits empty on Thursday while organizers look for qualified lifeguards to staff the pool during the summer months. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN WOODRUFF

The public pool at the New Milford Borough Park sits empty on Thursday while organizers look for qualified lifeguards to staff the pool during the summer months. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN WOODRUFF

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

Susquehanna County’s only outdoor public pool is having a tough time getting its gates open.
The pool, located off Route 11 at New Milford Borough Park, is facing a lifeguard shortage which pool manager Shawn Carey said could push back its opening date.

Currently, the pool in New Milford is cleaned out and ready to be filled with water, however, if Carey can’t find fulltime lifeguards, locals may have to find a different way to beat the heat.

Carey said that within the next few days he hopes to get the pool filled, and from there it will be chlorinated.

From there, the only hurdle will be finding two fulltime lifeguards to man the pool during its hours of operation from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Given that its my first year as pool manager, I’ve been contacting lifeguards on our list from last year,” Carey said on Thursday. “I have a couple willing to return, but they have very limited availability.”

Carey said he currently only has one lifeguard that is committed to working full time throughout the summer months.

“There are a few part time, but only one fulltime,” Carey said. “And we need two lifeguards on at one time to have the pool open.”

Carey said he has no idea why there’s such a shortage of available lifeguards in the region.

“Being that it’s the only public pool in the county, you’d think there would be more lifeguards available,” Carey said.

Carey said his absolute dream would be to get the pool open by June 25, but it all hinges on getting help.

“That would be the dream, but I can’t nail down a date until I have two fulltime people approved,” Carey said.

According to Molly Ramsey, the Customer Service Administrator for Pennsylvania Territories of the American Red Cross, the Red Cross doesn’t offer lifeguard training courses directly through its local chapters.

“Since a lot of our chapters in the northeast don’t have swimming pool, we use authorized providers to provide training,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey noted that authorized providers are instructors who have been trained by the Red Cross but are not directly affiliated with its local chapters.

“We give them a Facebook page as an outlet to advertise their trainings,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said, anyone interested in getting Red Cross certified training can visit www.facebook.com and search for “Aquatics in PA.”

She also noted that people can visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-red-cross for more information.
Carey said he is worried about getting the pool opened as soon as possible because of all the hot weather in the upcoming weeks.

“I think it’s extremely important to have the pool open,” Carey said. “There are a lot of students and parents who use the park on a hot summer day.”

Carey said it’s a great place to spend some quality family time.

“Families come here to spend the day at the park, and with a lot of other pools starting to close because of lack of funding, we want to keep ours going,” Carey said. “I would hate to have to close the pool.”

In order to become a lifeguard at the New Milford pool, you must be at least 15 years of age and certified as a lifeguard from a reputable organization.

To contact Carey about the possibility of lifeguarding, call 394-0807.