Emergency responders give advice on beach safety

Updated: June 08, 2020 07:05 PM

With summer around the corner, lots of us are ready for a fun beach day. However, the U.S. Coast Guard and Duluth Fire Department say it's important to plan your beach day with caution.

"Before you head out to the beach you need to check the weather conditions because the wave state and sea state on the lake can get pretty rough. If it's anywhere above the height that you are, you don't want to be swimming," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Barnes.

 The Duluth Fire Department recently added new signage at the beach access points. Assistant Fire Chief Brent Consie says parkpointbeach.org has daily updates on weather, rip current conditions, water temperature, and more. Consie says folks shoud always be aware of their surroundings at the beach.

"You should always know where you're at on the beach, first of all. Secondly, where the rescue stations are located so if you have to access throw rings to help someone else that you're able to do that," said Consie.

"A lot of people mistake drowning victims as somebody who's flapping in the water waving their arms. A lot of drowning victims are about eye level in the water and just trying to stay afloat as much as possible so they're not moving," said Barnes.

Barnes also said it's important to keep an eye on our friends and those around us. Also, consider bringing life jackets and taking CPR classes. It's also important to know what to do if you get stuck in a rip current.

"If you're stuck in a rip current, swim laterally away from it and try to get distance from the current because they run towards the shoreline and then away from the shoreline," said Barnes. "First responder training is critical and a lot of people think that until the paramedics show up they can't do anything, that's not true. Find a CPR instructor so you have basic qualification and are certified so you can at least help at the scene."

With no life guards on duty right now, Consie says being prepared for any emergency can be life saving the next time you're at the beach.

"You kind of pre plan when you go to the beach for things going wrong and then of course, you're never going into the water on a red flag day," said Consie.

Consie and Barnes say calling 911 is key in any emergency. They also remind folks to social distance at the beach to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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