Longboat Key Fire Rescue spent three days last week training for a new water-safety program that Fire Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi is implementing in the coming weeks.
Dezzi has spent the last two years working to receive approximately $30,000 in grants to pay for a new water rescue all-terrain vehicle and a Jet Ski to assist with water-rescue operations on both Sarasota Bay and in Gulf of Mexico waters.
Last week, firefighter/paramedics received training from Sarasota County lifeguards to learn water-assessment review and to learn how to launch the Jet Ski from the beach. Firefighters are also learning how to operate the Jet Ski with patients onboard.
Dezzi said the department made the commitment to purchase the vehicles and have enhanced water-safety measures after the Key experienced some drownings off its shoreline in the past couple of years.
Although firefighters won’t be patrolling the beach on a regular basis, Dezzi said the department will employ regular patrols on busy holiday weekends and when he has an extra person on duty.
The new measures coincide with a water-conditions flag program implemented earlier this month that provides citizens and visitors information about the conditions of the surf along Longboat Key.
Calling all condos
Is your condominium association on Gulf of Mexico Drive interested in flying a surf-condition flag? If so, then Longboat Key Fire Rescue wants to talk to your association.
A water-conditions flag program, implemented earlier this month, provides citizens and visitors information about the conditions of the surf along Longboat Key.
The information used to determine which color flag to fly comes from both Lido Key and Cortez beach lifeguards, who report their conditions to Mote Marine Laboratory. Longboat Key Fire Rescue will obtain the most stringent of the two beach reports and fly that color flag at both Longboat Key fire stations daily. Signs defining the flag colors have also been posted at the entrances of both fire stations.
Dezzi said six Longboat Key condominiums have already agreed to fly the condition flags, as well.
Other Key communities are welcome to fly the flags as well to increase awareness of the Key’s surf conditions. If interested, call Longboat Key Fire Rescue at 316-1944.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].