BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Whats a great way to stay cool during a hot Bakersfield summer day? For some, like David Rocha, who is a lifeguard at McMurtrey Aquatic Center, it's a trip to the pool.
Rocha said, "It definitely gets really hot here during the summers. I mean it's Bakersfield. But, obviously once we, once we get in the pool we cool down a little bit."
During the summer months the Bakersfield Parks and Recreation Department expects hundreds of swimmers to cool off in their pools daily.
"During the summer we have an average of about 200 people everyday here at McCurtrey," said Rocha, "It's definitely never boring, especially during the where the toys are at, where the slides are at. It gets very busy. But it's never a dull moment."
To prepare for that increase of swimmers and people looking to beat the heat, the Bakersfield Parks and Recreation Department is looking to hire 40 to 50 new lifeguards.
Ja'Nette Beck is a recreations supervisor for the pools. She said, "So we are starting our pre-assessments next weekend on March 2nd. There will be a physical assessment that all life guards will need to go through."
Beck said the pre-assessments include a 300 yard swim, retrieving a 10 pound brick from the bottom of the pool and be able to tread water for two minutes.
"If all of that goes well then they'll be invited to participate in our life guard training," said Beck. "Our lifeguards go through 45 hours of American Red Cross training. And once they earn their certification then they're eligible to be a city lifeguard."
The city Parks and Recs Department offers two training courses for future lifeguards. The first course is offered during two Friday, Saturday and Sundays in March, while the second is offered during Kern County's Spring Break on the week of April 15th to 19th. Beck said the second course is cheaper because of they have a partnership with Bakersfield Fire and Bakersfield College.
"What's also really neat about that program is all participants will earn two units of college credit through Bakersfield College," said Beck.
She continued, "All applicants need to be at least 16 years of age. They need to have transportation to get to work. And they need to have open availability to work during that summer season. So someone who's off during the summer, it's a perfect job opportunity."
Rocha was one of those high school students who became a lifeguard during his summer breaks. He was a member of his high school swim team. Now seven years later he turned a summer job into a management level lifeguard position.
"I really like it. It's really fun. Like I said we definitely bond during the summer, become like a family and I love teaching kids during the summer, especially when they're super small and really cute."
Rocha said one of the toughest parts of his job in knowing there will come a time where he'll have to rescue someone. He said while it might be scary for new lifeguards, if it does happen those lifeguards will have a lot of help with a possible rescue.
"There's always going to be trained professionals around to help them out," said Rocha. "And we always train on a weekly basis during the summer. So there shouldn't be any like second thought for it. And if, whenever a scenario does happen there's always help, managers or coordinators to help you out."
This summer Rocha said he'll help train the next group of summer lifeguards, who pass either the March 2nd or March 30th pre-assessment.
"I would definitely suggest doing this, especially if you like being around the water, especially in the summer time, because it's a really awesome beginner job. Definitely really awesome skills that you get for the entire lifetime," said Rocha.
If you would like more information about how to apply or the pre-assessment visit the Bakersfield Parks and Recreation Department's website:
or print out their flyer here.