HILLSBOROUGH CO., Fla (WFLA) – News Channel 8 is finding out how many lifeguards are employed by local counties after a 10-year-old drowned in Siesta Beach this week.
As beaches across the Tampa Bay area continue to reach capacity after reopening, we reached out to 10 counties to find out how prepared counties are for similar incidents.
Only six counties responded to our requests for information, but of them, Pasco County employed the most lifeguards with a total of 35 lifeguards working at three locations.
Neither Hernando nor Polk counties had lifeguards employed, however, they may have some employed by individual cities.
Of the counties that returned WFLA’s request for information, Pasco County employed the most lifeguards at 35.
As people are eager to get back to the beaches, drowning deaths have increased by 70 percent from the same time last year, according to the nonprofit organization Water Smart Tots.
Here are some tips from the National Safety Council to remember around water:
- Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim; swim lessons are available for all ages
- Never swim alone
- Learn CPR and rescue techniques
- Make sure the body of water matches your skill level; swimming in a pool is much different than swimming in a lake or river, where more strength is needed to handle currents
- If you do get caught in a current, don’t try to fight it; stay calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim free
- Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard
- Don’t push or jump on others
- Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas
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