Already saddled with lifeguard shortage, Overland Park taking extra heat precautions with staff

Heat index temps have been well above 100
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:42 AM CDT
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OVERLAND PARK, Ks. (KCTV) - A shortage of lifeguards had already forced the City of Overland Park to close two of its five public pools over the summer. Now the extreme heat is threatening the staff those pools do have.

In response to a barrage of days near 100 degrees, the city is taking extra precautions to protect its staff at Young’s Pool, Stonegate Outdoor Pool and Tomahawk Ridge Aquatic Center. Lifeguards at those pools are being asked to take extra care to hydrate, jump in the pool to cool down, and take time to stand in the air-conditioned pool house when they’re not actively on-duty.

The city is also moving lifeguard trainings to the evenings, when temperatures are a little cooler and staff don’t have to contend with the sun.

Overland Park is also taking extra steps with other city staff. Park crews---who are responsible for planting, trimming, mowing and general park maintenance---will be shifting their start times to 6 a.m. to get much of their work done before the temperatures get to their peak each day.

“We are in no different of a spot than anybody else who is trying to hire and retain employees right now, so it’s important for us to make sure, while still providing services to residents, the employees are still comfortable and happy,” said Meg Ralph with the city. “We’re really working with everyone as much as we can to make sure that happens.”

Overland Park’s three pools are open daily noon to 7 p.m. Young’s Pool is located at 8421 W. 77th St. Stonegate Outdoor Pool is at 9701 Antioch Road. Tomahawk Ridge Aquatic Center is located at 11950 Lowell Avenue.

Temperatures are expected to be above 100 degrees for at least some of the metro Friday and through the weekend, with heat index temperatures reaching as high as 110.