Surfside Beach Police increase patrols for heat, holiday

Starting Monday, two extra officers will be hitting Surfside Beach. The Surfside Beach Police Department announced Saturday the increased the number of officers assigned to its beachfront district for the week through Sunday, July 8th.

SBPD will field three Beach Patrol and Beach Services officers in the waterfront district each day to facilitate the large influx of holiday visitors. Chief of Police Mike Frederick says additional precautions are in place in regard to the expected hot temperatures.

"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," Frederick said.

Beach Patrol officers work 8-12 hours shifts in the heat for five months each year, and receive training to aid them in detecting heat-related injuries and illnesses in beachgoers. SBPD changed the Beach Patrol uniforms last year, and now use vehicles with shaded roofs to protect officers on beach duty.

"Remember that the ocean may provide relief and even lower your body temperature temporarily," Frederick said, "but it can't hydrate you, which is the best defense against heat-related illnesses and injuries."

SBPD's Beach Patrol officers and Beach Services personnel maintain cool water on their vehicles for emergency use, and 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."