HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - An Horry County Councilman is working to install lifeguard shacks along the beach on Shore Drive. You already see designated lifeguard stands on the beach but the shacks would provide more assistance to rescuers, and if County Councilman Brent Schulz succeeds, these would be the first of their kind in the state.
Schulz says he's been working on this project for two-and-a-half years, going back and forth with the state on permitting. The plans right now are to put in three mobile lifeguard shacks, complete with a wide range of first-aid gear in case someone in your family gets hurt.
They'll go in at Sands Ocean Club, Maisons-Sur-Mer, and at the Apache Campground by the pier.
Schulz says there are two main benefits for the shacks: first aid will have a centralized location and shelter for beach rescues. Second, they'll be iconic. They'll have a Lowcountry feel and be a landmark children and adults can recognize from the beach.
Lack's Beach Service staffs the area that all three shacks would go in; they say the shacks would help children locate a familiar landmark and give people suffering from heat or injury a place to go.
"When people have jelly fish stings, or people step on fishhooks, or get stung by sting rays or anything like this - we would have an area set up in the hut that would help specifically with these and have them wait until EMS could arrive," says Hannah Houston, the Recruiting and Training Manager at Lack's Beach Service. "And this will be great because EMS could know exactly where to go. We could say 'We're at hut 1, 2 or 3', and they'd know exactly where we are and how to get there. And it would be easily accessible for them."
These shacks are still a little ways off from becoming a reality. The county is in the middle of working with the state on permitting, so they won't go up this year. Schulz says as of right now, the earliest we'll probably see them is 2016.
Schulz says because they'll be mobile, open-air shacks without electricity, the estimated cost is right around $15,000 and $20,000 for each shack. And that is going to be paid for by the money that comes in when people park and pay at a meter.
Houston says for people suffering injuries on the beach, the shacks will be a haven to receive treatment or, for more serious issues, wait for EMS to arrive.
"If people are sick or need help or anything like that, they'll be able to get out of the heat, go in there, go into the shade. Now we can focus our intention on getting them there and having them there and practicing other measures to enforce safety, instead of having to worry about grabbing umbrellas, grabbing water, all that stuff. It will all be in one safe place."