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City Releases $1.3 Million To Hire More Lifeguards As The Winter Surf Season Arrives
City releases $1.3 million to hire more lifeguards as the winter surf season arrives
HONOLULU -- Today, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced the approval of $1.3 million in additional funding to hire more Honolulu Ocean Safety lifeguards. The release of funds comes as Ocean Safety gears up for the winter surf season, which brings hazardous conditions and an increase in beachgoers to the west and north-facing shores. The monies will fund 18 full-time civil service positions to support extended lifeguard services, a program now mandated by law.
"Our Ocean Safety team is a vital component of our city's first responder team," said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. "For an island community of more than a million residents, and for one that hosts millions of visitors a year, we have a responsibility and duty to ensure we keep people as safe as possible as they access the shoreline and our beaches. I am pleased to give our Ocean Safety Division a chance to bring in more of the very best watermen and women in the world to staff this vital service."
The additional positions will enable Ocean Safety to start a recruiting class next month, with a second tryout in January to build a recruiting class that begins in May.
Ocean Safety's recruiting class is six weeks and includes:
- Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) training.
- Orientation to the rescue jet ski.
- A course in emergency vehicle driving.
- Near-shore rescue techniques.
- Practical skills in saving conscious and unconscious patients from the shoreline.
City lifeguards perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) more than 100 times yearly.
"We are extremely grateful to the Mayor and City Council for this level of support," says Honolulu Ocean Safety Chief John Titchen. "To see this level of investment in all of our City first responders at HPD, HFD, EMS, and Ocean Safety reassures our team that they can just go out and do the best job they can to keep people safe. These added positions give us significant flexibility to recruit the best lifeguards we can to continue to improve our coverage and to staff our popular Junior Lifeguards Program, which is a crucial part of our public outreach effort."
Ocean Safety this past summer extended its operational hours to 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at its 42 towers around O‘ahu, and 911 call data shows a dramatically improved public safety posture at beach parks, particularly in the hour from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., which is frequently the busiest time of the day at some popular beaches.
"Extended hours at our lifeguard towers will increase protection for our community and support our Ocean Safety lifeguards that risk their lives to keep us safe," added Honolulu City Councilmember Matt Weyer. "The release of funds for additional positions our office added to the budget shows what we can accomplish when we work together. I am grateful for Mayor Blangiardi's leadership and commitment to collaboration. This is a win for our community, and I know that public safety and our first responders will continue to be top of mind at the City."
Some of the new positions will be dedicated to increasing coverage when the city installs a new tower at Kalama Beach in Kailua later next year, marking the second year in a row that this administration has added a lifeguard tower.
Information on tryout dates, starting pay, and employment requirements are posted online at emergencyservices.honolulu.gov.
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