Water rescue training exercise at Honeymoon Island

A show of force to make us feel better

HONEYMOON ISLAND, Fla. - It was a show of force out at Honeymoon Island on Monday in an effort to make the public feel that much safer.

The Coast Guard, the Dunedin Fire Department, and various other government agencies, as well as a group of lifeguards who watch over our beaches, came out for a training exercise.

The exercise was a water rescue training. A helicopter was on hand as divers dropped into the water and then were pulled out.

"A Florida visitor, or a Florida citizen, coming to the beach to enjoy themselves, if they found themselves in some kind of distress in the water, these are the kinds of resources that would be called upon to rescue that person in a timely manner," said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, Sgt. Steve Gaskin.

So it was a coordinated effort to raise public awareness that each of these branches, who look out for our well being, are doing just that around our waterways this summer - looking out.  Because, Sgt. Gaskins says, when bad things happens, "Time is critical.  Because when people are drowning you only have a few minutes to respond to save that person."

But the exercise, which should makes us all feel a little safer, should also serve as a warning: Never forget, you are the best protector of yourself, family and friends.

Just over the weekend there were three separate instances of near-drowning in Polk County.   Two in Davenport  -- a five-year-old girl, listed in stable condition, and a 21-month-old boy who is also in stable condition.  The third is a two-year-old boy in Lakeland, listed in critical condition,

Also, just last week, two tragedies, including a four-year-old who drowned in a neighbor's pool in Holiday in Pasco County, and a five-year-old autistic girl drowned in a retention pond in Bradenton, in Manatee County, not 20 yards from her dad's house.

So remember, safety crews are great to have around, but safety starts at home with all of us.

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