As the Fairfield Citizen reported on Aug. 17 ("Beaches to have reduced staffing, hours for season's end"), the Fairfield Park and Recreations Department announced there would be reduced lifeguard coverage at our town beaches, with some having no coverage at all, as of Aug. 20. The reason is that many of the town's lifeguards are headed back to school.

It is concerning to us that this reduction in lifeguards began two weeks prior to the "unofficial" end of summer -- Labor Day. Water safety is a very serious matter. When visiting our town beaches for a swim, please read the signs and be cognizant of whether a lifeguard is on duty. If there is no lifeguard coverage at a particular town beach, the back of the lifeguard stand will state "Lifeguard Off Duty."

Given the number of town residents who enjoy our beaches and lakes each summer season, we strongly believe the Parks and Recreation Department needs to re-examine its lifeguard staffing policies to ensure all of our town beaches are fully staffed through Labor Day and that the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting all need to ensure that the necessary staffing level is fully budgeted for going forward.

Michael D. Herley

RTM District 1

Ruth Smey

RTM District 5

Michael D. Herley is chairman of the RTM's Public Health and Safety Committee, and Ruth Smey is the committee's vice chairman.