Pool safety tips as lifeguard shortage continues

Local News

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s going to be another hot day Friday, and many people may be going to the pool or lake to cool down.

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths in children under 14. But following a few tips can help keep you and your family safe this summer.

Whether you’re heading to the lake, pool or ocean, experts recommend checking for signs that indicate it’s safe to be swimming in a certain area. The best way to keep children safe is through swim education, and constant supervision.

The CDC says, make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim. Adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, talking on the phone, and using alcohol or drugs.

Lifeguards can give you a swim test to see if you can swim the length of the pool without touching to bottom or the walls. They recommend you learn how to swim but if you can’t they say go above your chest.

In Holyoke, the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club has enough trained lifeguards for the season to staff Pouliot Pool. Holyoke even has enough lifeguards to also provide evening programs for the city’s senior citizens by collaborating with the school department and other agencies as well.

Lifeguard Application

But that’s not the same every where, Springfield is among the many cities across America facing a shortage of lifeguards this summer. The problem is aggravated by COVID-19 limiting the number of applicants and training opportunities.

Mayor Domenic Sarno has increased the salary for lifeguards and head recreation leaders to cope with what he describes as a “lifeguard shortage phenomenon throughout the nation.” Issuing his appeal for applicants, the mayor told 22News, there’s a lot riding on hiring enough lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to scan a pool in under 10 seconds looking for people in distress. The Mayor is urging all potential lifeguards to apply as soon as possible.

Holyoke Cooling Centers:

  • Water Spray Parks
    • 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Carlos Vega Park, Community Field, Pulaski Park, South Chestnut Street Park and Springdale Park
  • Pouliot Pool
    • 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (weather permitting) free due to the heat
  • Holyoke Library
  • Holyoke Senior Center
  • Holyoke Mall 


  • Raymond A. Jordan Senior Center
    • 1476 Roosevelt Ave
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Kenefick Park
    • 310 Plainfield St.
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Mason Square Library Community Room
    • 765 State Street
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Hungry Hill Senior Center
    • 773 Liberty Street
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Myrtle Street Park
    • 111 Main St
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Clodo Concepcion (Greenleaf) Community Center
    • 1187 ½ Parker St.
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • South End Community Center
    • 99 Marble St.
    • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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