Community Club Member Suggests Water Emergency Improvements

Baihly Warfield
November 21, 2017 06:22 PM

After a father and daughter drowned off Park Point in August, Gary Glass, a member of the Park Point Community Club asked, 'Can we do better?'

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Glass set out to talk to first responders and research ways future water emergencies could be prevented. 

"There is a duty to warn, there's a duty to protect and a duty to educate," Glass said. 

He broke his suggestions out into those three categories in a report sent to city councilors, Mayor Emily Larson and Park Point Community Club members. 

For Glass, it's also personal. He had a friend drown when he was in elementary school. 

"They jumped off their raft, tried to swim to shore, and one of them didn't make it. That was when I was 7," Glass said. "So the hazards are burned into my head."

Thousands of people come to enjoy the Twin Ports' beaches every year. But Lake Superior isn't just any lake. And one way Glass thinks both visitors and locals could be warned is better signage. 

"There are no warning signs on the pathways to the beach by the parking lots," Glass said. 

Plus, he thinks the signs should specifically warn people that there have been drownings. 

"We know it's a real and present danger during storm times," Glass said. 

On that note, his report suggested hiring "beach monitors" to staff swimming areas when lifeguards are not present. 

"Require trained 'beach monitors' to be present, when lifeguards are not, at public beaches during times posted for no swimming, on days of rough water, to warn visitors of added hazards of swimming in rough water," Glass' report reads. 

It also recommends requiring children to wear life jackets and requiring supervision when children swim in Lake Superior. It also suggests adding buoys to define swimming areas. 

The report gets into a few ways the professional emergency response could be improved as well. You can read the full report here

The last element is education. Glass suggests increasing water safety programs in schools for locals and running safety videos at local hotels, motels and rentals to warn visitors. 

The report concludes, "The purpose of the Park Point Community Club is to work for the betterment of the Community and the welfare of its residents. Members have expressed interest to help make needed changes necessary to reduce or eliminate all preventable drowning deaths at the Lake Beach Park of Park Point."

City officials said Tuesday they have received the report and are digesting it. Duluth Fire Chief Dennis Edwards said his department is working on improvements, and he will be able to comment on those Wednesday. 


Baihly Warfield

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