PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Time is running out. Philadelphia is looking for more lifeguards who are ready to splash all summer long.
City pools are fun, but they also play a major role in violence prevention efforts. So lifeguards are needed now more than ever.
With juvenile violence trends rising alongside temperatures, the push is for adults to take the plunge.
“We open pools in just a few weeks so we really have to have time to be able to train and certify folks before pool season opens,” said Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.
Philly’s Parks and Rec is having one last push to reach its goal of 400 lifeguards that will man its 68 pools across the city.
But if they come up short, “We’re gonna have to make some hard decisions about what pools can open and what pools can’t,” Lovell said.
Becoming a city lifeguard isn’t as scary as it may seem. Passing the recruitment stage includes swimming a number of laps, treading water for a few minutes, and being able to swim backward while holding a brick.
“Lifting the rock is the easiest though. Once you get the breathing techniques down, the most important part is staying in the water and floating,” Errol Ferryman said.
If you fall short, Parks and Rec will train you so you can cross the finish line.
“I need to get all these techniques together and know how to save a life,” Ferryman said.
After all, pools are additional safe havens to get children off the streets.
Officials say they hope to host over 1 million pool visits this summer. They just need 150 more people to press themselves into public service.
“Your city needs you, kids need you, communities needs you. It’s just a six- to eight-week commitment. You don’t have to spend your entire summer doing this,” Lovell said.
So far, Parks has hired 70% of lifeguards and maintenance staff needed for the summer.
To attract more employees, this year’s salary has been increased to $15.25 per hour. For a list of requirements, click here.