Excerpts from the DailyNorthwestern.com:

The Evanston Parks and Recreation director announced in October that the lifeguard program would move departments, pending city approval of a new fire department lifeguard supervisor position with oversight of their training. The department proposed the new position to the city council as part of the lifeguard budget and is awaiting approval. 

The merging of the lifeguard program with the fire department has been a point of discussion since late summer. Evanston will be the first municipality in Illinois to move its lakefront program to the fire department, though many west coast cities like San Diego established this pairing long ago. 

The change is one of many that has followed reports in summer 2021 of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment among lakefront staff.  Supervision by the fire department will help create a better work environment the lifeguards. 

Recent summers have also hampered recruitment of new lifeguard staff.  Hopefully the switch will provide more career-building opportunities for young lifeguards and therefore help with recruitment. 

The fire department also plans to create their own curriculum for their lifeguard certification. The lakefront management currently certifies the lifeguards through the United States Lifesaving Association, but the fire department plans to use the American Red Cross curriculum instead and include more Evanston lakefront-specific training.

Tags: , ,