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Holiday weekend and summer pool safety

Most pools in Boone County plan to open for Memorial Day weekend, and the summer, this Saturday.

Pool officials expect a wave of pool-goers and are finishing preparations. On Thursday lifeguards are finishing training in Columbia and Jefferson City.

Park and Recreation officials said all the time and effort during the off-season is to keep swimmers safe this summer.

“All our facilities are going to be opened Memorial Day weekend, so we are going to be in full swing getting all our staff trained and ready to go,” said Columbia Parks and Recreation Aquatic Supervisor S.J. Idel.

“Any time we have any amenity we have a lifeguard station. At the lily pads, we’ll have a lifeguard. At our deep end, we have a lifeguard,” said Jefferson City Recreation Supervisor Laurie Herzing.

That extends to the baby pools and shallow water.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths of children under 4 years old.

“People think most drownings happen in deep water but it actually occurs more in 4 feet or less,” Herzing said.

Columbia park officials say parents can help lifeguards keep their children safe.

“They may say ‘Oh, there are lifeguards at the facility, everything will be fine.’ For the most part is true. That backup from parents just always being aware of where their kids are or what they’re doing while they are at our pool is a definitely a huge aid to us,” Idel said.

Jefferson City pools open May 29 and anticipate about 14 lifeguards on duty.

The Columbia rec pools open Saturday, regular hours starting Tuesday, and about 11 lifeguards on duty this weekend.

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