ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

Like most holidays, St. Johns County Fire Rescue expected Memorial Day weekend to be busy, but the volume of calls over those three days may have set a record.

Rescue units responded 832 emergency calls from Saturday through Monday -- 200 more calls than they did over the same period last year.

"We certainly saw a spike in call volume over the weekend," said Lt. Jeremy Robshaw of SJCFR. "We expected that; prepared for it. This was a holiday weekend and the start of the summer; we know the beaches are going to be busy."

Robshaw said they were lucky that most of the calls were routine, but many of them could have been prevented.

"One of the biggest things we deal with is hydration issues," Robshaw said. "People who get overheated, they are out in the sun out in the heat all day. They are not drinking appropriate amounts of water and not putting sunscreen on like they should."

Robshaw also said that for parents, busy holiday weekends can be a nightmare on the beach because it’s so easy to lose sight of a child.

"It’s a very busy beach and it only takes a couple seconds of not watching the child and they can intermingle with the crowd and you can lose sight of them. So just paying attention to those things that seem routine can help us all have a much safer weekend," he said.

Here’s the breakdown of calls:

The weekend's 42 fire emergencies included:

  • 3 house fires
  • 17 car accidents
  • 157 medical responses
  • 533 marine rescue responses, with include 24 swimmers in distress and 2 calls to help boaters


Robshaw said they add staff over the summer, including beach patrols from Ponte Vedra to Crescent Beach, to help respond to the additional calls.  He said the department expects the Fourth of July holiday as well as Labor Day weekend to also be just as busy.