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Florida editorial roundup
Question of the Day
Recent editorials from Florida newspapers:
Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal on lifeguards:
This weekend, it’ll be safer to swim in the Gulf of Mexico along much of the shore in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
That’s because of forward thinking by the public safety folks, the Santa Rosa Island Authority and Gulf Islands National Seashore’s leadership.
In her “Gaining Ground” report Saturday, beach reporter Kimberly Blair wrote that cooperation between Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Island Authority means lifeguards will expand their coverage area. A formal agreement was signed last week to extend lifeguard coverage for miles:
- Pensacola Beach lifeguards will be protecting swimmers at Langdon Beach in the Fort Pickens area from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Sept. 30.
- This weekend, lifeguards will begin staffing towers at Johnson Beach on Perdido Key, and Opal Beach in the Santa Rosa County area of the National Seashore.
We’d like to commend the work of Bob West, Pensacola Beach’s public safety supervisor, and Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown for the coverage plan. …
It’s good to see two government entities work together - are you paying attention Escambia County and the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority? - to benefit local residents and the tens of thousands of visitors to our beaches. Though it took more than a year to pull it off, our beaches will be safer. Public safety should be a prime concern for governments.
After all, it wasn’t always this way on the island. Until just more than a decade ago, there was a “swim at your own risk” mentality that left far too many people drowning in the surf. That changed with West’s hiring. He hired more lifeguards, got them to patrol in vehicles, and he began a public education plan on the danger of riptides and the flag warning system about surf conditions. To be sure, there is still an element of danger when entering the Gulf, even for good swimmers, but this plan reduces that risk.
To locals and visitors who will be visiting on spring break: Welcome to Northwest Florida and have a good time. However, listen to our lifeguards and heed their warnings. We want you to have a pleasant, safe experience and come back next year.
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