SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The Surfside Beach Police Department announced Saturday afternoon that it has increased the number of officers assigned to its beachfront district for this week due to the hot weather.
According to a press release, the SBPD will provide advisory information to residents and visitors in regards to the heat advisories issued across the state.
"We usually add an officer on the beach during holiday weeks, but we added two this week due to very large number of visitors already here and to assist with problems attendant to the very high temperatures," said SBPD Chief of Police Mike Frederick. "We look out for our guys in the heat as well," said Frederick. "Beach Patrol duty sounds pretty glamorous until you ride up and down that beach in the heat for eight or ten hours, getting sandblasted all day and baked in the hot sun."
The Surfside Beach Patrol officers work up to a 12 hour shift during the five month heat weave each year and receive training to aid them in detecting heat-related injuries and illnesses in beachgoers, according to Frederick.
Beach Patrol officers wear loose, light-colored clothing, use liberal amounts of high-SPF sunscreen, and utilize the shade of the utility vehicle roof to protect them from the sun as much as possible. Officers also hydrate with cool water constantly throughout their shifts. Officers advise that these same tactics work for all beachgoers, said Frederick.
"Remember that the ocean may provide relief and even lower your body temperature temporarily," said Frederick. "But it can't hydrate you, which is the best defense against heat-related illnesses and injuries.
The Beach Patrol have immediate access to emergency medical personnel via radio and mobile telephone. Their small utility vehicles are also used to transport injured or ill persons from the beach to a waiting ambulance at the nearest breach access.
"Our folks will be diligently monitoring the crowds for signs of heat illness," Frederick said, "but they can't check everyone, obviously. We're simply reminding folks to stay as cool and hydrated as possible so they can enjoy a great Independence Day holiday week."