Aberdeen Aquatic Center prioritizes lifeguard safety in heat

The Aberdeen Aquatic Center is one of the best places to cool down on a hot day in the Hub City
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:05 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Aberdeen Aquatic Center is one of the best places to cool down on a hot day in the Hub City, and staff are taking precautions to make sure everyone stays safe in the heat.

After an Aberdeen Swim Club meet over the weekend, the Aquatic Center was only able to utilize two of their three pools. With all three open Monday, and the high temperatures, pool manager Rebecca Severson expected it to be busy.

”We had a swim meet, so we had half of our pool closed. It was pretty packed over here. I think it’s going to be pretty busy today,” said Severson on Monday.

She was correct. There was already a line formed at the gate when the pool opened at 1 p.m.

On hot days like Monday, it’s Severson’s job to make sure her 15 lifeguards on duty have the tools to bear the heat.

”All season long, we recommend the lifeguards always have their water with them. They always have their sunscreen. They’re always applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before they go out on stand,” said Severson.

The lifeguards get two 30-minute breaks each day, as well as an hour for dinner. They also get to utilize the cool water in the pools just as much as the customers.

”We encourage our guards to get into the pool as well, just to cool off and just get re-hydrated,” said Severson.

While Severson looks after her lifeguards, they look out for signs of heat exhaustion in the customers.

“Our guards are always really good about kind of keeping an eye on the chairs and things around them. On safety breaks too, we always make sure we have one guard watching the water and have guards watching the grass as well, just to kind of keep an eye on people,” said Severson.

Despite the high temperatures, the lifeguards at the Aquatic Center are actually grateful for the warm weather.

”We started our season off cool. I think it was about a week ago Saturday we had kind of our first warm day, a really hot day, and they were actually excited for sunshine and heat and warmth. I think, after this weekend, they’re probably ready for a little bit of a break, but they did an awesome job over the weekend and I’m proud of them,” said Severson.

The Aberdeen Aquatic Center held its regular hours Monday, staying open until 8 p.m. to help keep Hub City residents cool.

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