Seconds matter when it comes to water rescues, and with two brand new jet skis, Flagler County Ocean Rescue is shortening their response time.
When asked why they purchased these vehicles, Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said, "Any type of water rescue mainly marine rescue because we're right here on the beach. Any time somebody gets pulled out by a rip tide or if someone is out in the ocean kayaking which we've had a couple of those. Kayaks will go out into the ocean and become exhausted and fall out of the kayak and can't get back in."
With the lack of lifeguard coverage this additional patrol will help especially during busy holidays and events like this weekend for the Fourth of July.
Although most beaches have lifeguards Petito informed us that, "We're effectively what the coast guard calls a dead zone and this is the reason that we even made water rescue. we have lifeguards close to the pier and nothing north and nothing south of those lifeguards."
About 30 firefighter-paramedics have been trained specifically on jet ski rescues however Petito says, "Everybody in the department needs to be water rescue certified. You can swim long distance you can tread water for a long time. you're self sustaining in the water so you can effect a rescue."
As folks flock to the beaches this weekend, Flagler County Fire Department says that they will be ready.
Petito says, "during busier times like the 4th of July holiday coming up well go ahead and staff this for two people and go ahead and patrol the beach and the jet skis will be patrolling on the water."
Before speaking with Petito and his crew Local 6 spoke to Anne Tobe, a frequent visitor of this beach and she was happy to hear about the increased patrol.
"I think the idea in using additional fire rescue is a great idea. there's enough little kids and it'd be a great use of resources. I think it is because it'll make people more comfortable to come to a low key beach like this and have an extra eye out on the little ones," she said.
So If you're heading out to Flagler beach this Fourth of July weekend expect to see these vehicles on patrol.