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Lack of lifeguards limiting hours at some state parks

Litchfield

Noah and his family were swimming at Lake McDonaugh in Barkhamsted with hundreds of other people celebrating Memorial Day weekend.

The state park was filled to capacity and had to be shut down early because so many people wanted to cool off in the water, keeping the lifeguards on high alert.

This year, like last, there is a shortage of lifeguards at some state parks. In Barkhamsted, they will be closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through the summer because they only have enough staff for four days a week to cover the park.

Tracy Similiem relies on the lifeguards because she said she can’t swim.

“My little 2-year-old is fast and if you don’t keep your eye on him, he heads out there and he was heading out for the water, and there are the lifeguards right there, but it is scary. So, I am grateful for the lifeguards!” Similiem said.

Related Content: Lifeguards warn swimmers and surfers of strong rip currents

And they do so much more than just watch for people drowning, they make sure people are properly hydrated, they know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion as well as CPR and proper back boarding.

Evan Janssens is a lifeguard at Lake McDonaugh.

“Everybody respects you. It’s a fun job. I like being here. Long days, but it’s worth it,” he explained.

MDC, who is in charge of Lake McDonaugh, said they regret any inconvenience for cutting back the hours, but that they always put safety and security first.  

For more information on becoming a lifeguard for CT State Parks, click here. 

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