North Iowa pools close unexpectedly

(ABC 6 News) – Swimming pools in Mason City, Nora Springs and Hampton, Iowa closed unexpectedly Friday, just days before high temperatures come to the region.

Many lifeguards in Iowa received notice late Thursday night that their American Red Cross certifications were invalidated due to an issue with a certain Red Cross instructor.

Without lifeguards, pool managers were forced to close their doors.

“That has really put a cramp in many pools,” said Aaron Burnett, City Administrator of Mason City. “The majority of our lifeguards were certified under the instructor that had all the certifications pulled.”

The mix-up has left the pools closed, the lifeguards without a job, and pool-goers in shock.

“I wanted to let the kids go play. They love to go swimming, and it was close, convenient, so kinda disappointed, I think they’re gonna miss out on that” said Krystin Lingelbach, a mother of three who came to Mason City for the weekend with her family. “We’ll have to find an alternative place to go swimming now.”

With the unexpected closure, the city is losing on on money that it needs to keep the pools running.

“This is one of the busiest times for aquatic centers, is the middle of July. It’s going to be very hot over the next week, so we’ll push as hard as we can to get open,” said Burnett.

City officials are working with the Red Cross on next steps, and how their lifeguards can get their certifications reinstated.

As of now, the pool in Mason City is hoping to re-open on Tuesday.

In a statement to ABC 6 News, The American Red Cross said:

The American Red Cross recognizes the important role we play in water safety. Through our licensed training providers, the Red Cross requires that instructors strictly adhere to the requirements of our evidenced-based aquatics course curriculum.  

As part of our ongoing commitment to water safety, the Red Cross revoked certifications that resulted from a lifeguard instructor in northern Iowa who failed to deliver Lifeguard training classes in accordance with the Red Cross aquatics course curriculum. Any lifeguards who were certified by an instructor affiliated with the Mason City Family YMCA are encouraged to contact the Mason City Family YMCA for more information.  

The primary purpose of the Red Cross Lifeguard curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies. Any instance where we believe that content is not being delivered to our standard can and will result in a revocation of certification. In order to receive a valid certification for the Lifeguard course, individuals must successfully complete retraining in that course.