ST. JOHNS CO, Fla. – St. Johns County Fire Rescue will officially begin full-scale guarded beaches this Saturday, May 28, 2016.
SJCFR will staff a team of United States Lifesaving Association certified beach lifeguards who will begin daily assignments from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. guarding St. Johns County beaches.
Lifeguards will staff an average of 18 lifeguard towers in addition to multiple supervisors traveling the coastline in various response vehicles.
Career Fire Rescue personnel housed at coastal stations have been certified as ocean rescue responders, and will help supplement the daily beach staffing and emergency response 24 hours a day.
Lifeguard tower staffing will remain in place daily until Labor Day weekend which traditionally marks the conclusion of the beach season.
Please take notice of beach flags and signage posted at beach access points and lifeguard towers located throughout St. Johns County as they provide daily condition updates to beach goers. In addition, these locations also post valuable safety information specifically dealing with rip currents and other common beach hazards.
As you and your families visit the beaches this holiday weekend and throughout the summer, ST. Johns County Fire Rescue wants to remind you of the following beach safety tips.
Swim Near a Lifeguard - Statistics over a ten year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
Learn to Swim - Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who are not taught when they are very young tend to avoid swim instruction as the age, probably due to embarrassment. Swimming Instruction is a crucial step to protecting children from injury or death.
Never Swim Alone - Many drowning incidents involve single swimmers. When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others. At least have someone onshore watching you when you swim.
Don’t Fight the Current - It is said that some 80% of rescues by lifeguards at the ocean beaches are caused by rip currents. These currents formed by surf and gravity, because once surf pushes water up the slope of the beach, gravity pulls it back. This can create concentrated rivers of water moving offshore. Some people mistakenly call this an undertow, but there is no undercurrent, just an offshore current. If you are caught in a rip current, don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety.
Swim Sober - Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. It account for nearly 60% of drowning incidents involving adults. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Both alcohol and drugs can impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take.
For more information contact St. Johns County Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Capt. Jeremy Robshaw at (904) 209-1750