SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — The start of summer is still months away, but the heat is here! Which means beach activity picks up, Na'Tassia Finley explains some of the safety plans first responders put into effect.
South Padre Island Fire Chief, Marucs Smith, "Drowning is a silent event. They'll be there one second, swept under and you won't hear any cries for help."
In the previous five years, only one drowning on the island, 2014 however has added another fatal statistic another drowning.
The SPI Fire Department's Beach Patrol is gearing up just a little bit early as hot temperatures are already drawing out beach goers on the weekends.
This season, they'll be implementing several new plans and safety measures to protect swimmers. One of these new plans involves introducing the rip current education program.
Fire Chief, Marucs Smith, "Up and down the Texas coast and around the U.S., rip currents are the number one killer of people on the beaches as far as drowning is concerned."
Signs will be posted at all beach access points, Fire Chief, Marucs Smith, "It describes what a rip current is and how to escape it so they can stay safe on our beaches."
In addition to education, more manpower will b e directing their focus to the waters, Fire Chief, Marucs Smith, "We've increased our lifeguard stands from five to seven. It provides us more coverage on the five mile stretch of beach that we actually provide protection to."
The additional lifeguards come after community feedback, Fire Cheif, Marucs Smith, "We also have two roving trucks that can assist. If there is actually someone in distress, you have more personnel to not only assist in the rescue, but to assist in the case that the rescuer gets into trouble."
As of now the beach patrol and lifeguards are working the weekends, they'll begin working daily Memorial weekend.