Lifeguards needed for city pools to open

Apr. 26—More lifeguards are needed by the city of McAlester or else the city will not be able to open pools in the city, including the Jeff Lee Pool swimming pool.

To help with the lifeguard-hiring process, the city is hosting an informational meeting set for 4 p.m. on April 30 at the J.I. Stipe Recreational Center at 801 N. Ninth St.

Potential lifeguards do not have to be pre-certified to apply, said McAlester Community Services Director Doug Basinger.

He said the city of McAlester will help with the certification process and will even pay for the certifications — which can cost up to $150 per person.

Basinger told city councilors this week that the city had the funds to open the Jeff Lee swimming pool and Chadick Park wading pools, but it doesn't have enough lifeguards.

As of April 24, the city had only two lifeguards hired.

At least 24 lifeguards are needed, Basinger said Thursday. He said while that might sound like a lot, the city has to make arrangements for things such as sick days, young lifeguards attending sports or cheerleading camps and going on vacation with their parents. Lifeguards also work different shifts.

Lifeguard applicants must be at least 16 or older.

Basinger said if enough lifeguards can't be hired, the city will not be able to open the Jeff Lee pool.

McAlester Mayor John Browne asked for the public's help in getting the word out.

Applications can be obtained by going to City Hall, or by going online at, Basinger said.

Anyone who is interested in applying or who has already applied should attend the Tuesday, April 30, informational meeting, he said.

Portions of the discussion centered around getting more information out that lifeguards are needed and the possibility of offering incentives.

McAlester City Manager Dave Andren said the city definitely will not open the pools if enough lifeguards can't be hired, saying that safety is the number one priority for the city.

City of McAlester Public Information Officer Adrian O'Hanlon III said the city continues to pursue every available option to recruit and train lifeguards.

"The city wants to be able to open the pool, but we must prioritize safety and to do that we need help from the community to safely staff the pool," he said.