New water safety equipment, protocols to be implemented by Racine County, City

The shoreline town of Racine is nestled next to Lake Michigan. North Beach, 100 Kewaunee St. and Zoo Beach, located just to the north, are used for water recreation, especially during the summer months.

Lake Michigan poses a threat to local swimmers and beachgoers. Problems with drinking water quality and currents have led to drownings and critical emergencies in the past. To ensure the safety of community members and tourists, new water safety initiatives and equipment are being implemented.

To prevent accidents and promote safer beaches, Racine County, the city of root, the Racine fire department, the Racine County Sheriff’s Departmentthe Racine County Dive Team, Racine Lifeguard Program, Racine Unified School District and ROD 101 officially launch additional opportunities to prevent water security emergencies from occurring.

Racine Town Mayor Cory Mason explained at a July 7 news conference, “Our jurisdiction here in the town looks to the water’s edge, county jurisdiction is in the water and the breakwater.

Credit: Racine County

Water Safety Technology and Initiatives

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said, “We are not declaring victory, but we are declaring that we took it (water safety) very seriously.”

The partnership between these organizations will provide Racine County with the following equipment, technology and improvements:

  • A camera
    • A camera is located on the north beach, near the breakwater and the Racine Yacht Club
    • Provides authorities with a wide-angle view of the beach
    • In the event of an emergency, law enforcement can use the camera footage to review incidents that have occurred
  • Improved signage
    • Warns and informs citizens if water quality is safe
    • Signage is connected to the National Weather Service to serve as a visual tool in determining the current danger of Lake Michigan
  • Reinforced lifeguard training
    • North Beach and Zoo Beach lifeguards receive extensive, recurring training led by the Racine Fire Department and the Racine County Sheriff’s Department
    • Rescuers have radio equipment that communicates directly with local authorities, as opposed to using cell phones
  • New technologies and equipment
    • Drone systems will help provide rescue sticks or self-inflating buoys
    • Remote-controlled buoys will be used, chasing at high speed towards people who may be in distress
    • Racine County Sherriff’s Department zodiac patrol boat and small boat will soon receive upgraded sonar systems
    • Racine County Sherriff’s Department will soon receive new Rapid Response Jet Skis to respond more quickly to critical incidents
    • The Racine Sherriff County Department patrol boat is now moored at the Racine Yacht Club rather than located at the marina to ensure faster response to water-related emergencies
  • Educational Videos

The role of the pandemic in equipment delays

“The Racine County Sheriff’s Office has an active drone team program and these items can be used today,” said Capt. Brad Friend of the Racine County Sheriff’s Office.

However, due to supply chain issues and delays, the RC boats and buoys are out of stock. These should arrive within a month. The two jet skis that will be used by the Racine County Dive Team are also experiencing shipping delays. Captain Friend estimates that they will arrive in the near future.

The costs of additional security programs, protocols

This investment in ongoing Racine County security is estimated to be approximately $150,000 from the county. The town of Racine also has an estimated cost of around $150,000 spent on the project. This price has included the cost of technology and even increased salaries for local lifeguards. Costs may fluctuate based on future upgrades and advancements.

“We think that’s a pretty reasonable price for county taxpayers to pay to mitigate potential drownings,” Delagrave said.

Beyond Lake Michigan

These resources can be used at Lake Michigan, but must also be used throughout the county.

“The drones are located in various parts of the county,” Friend said. “The dive team has one in their command vehicle, we have one that’s going to be stationed at the law enforcement center. And then we have a number of them at our patrol station and our patrol car. commandment.

At any time, drones can travel to the scene of an emergency and fly remotely to help those in need. North Beach will have a dedicated remote-controlled boat or buoy. Similarly, there will be one at Zoo Beach. The boat patrol unit and the dive team will have access to these devices.

Watch the event

do your part

“We still need people to follow the rules,” Mason said. “It helps us mitigate any drownings that might occur, but we still need people to listen and follow the safety instructions that are there. If it’s a dangerous undertow, it’s not safe to be in the water. We really need people to participate.

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