As summer crowds begin to storm Laguna’s beaches, the city’s safety organizations are gearing up to keep Fourth of July festivities safe.
The holiday is one of Laguna Beach’s busiest beach-going days of the year. Marine Safety Chief Mark Klosterman said he expects about 60,000 people to visit the beach Wednesday.
Klosterman said last weekend’s opening of the summer season wasn’t too difficult for the lifeguard staff. The beach only had waves between one and three feet high and there was little in the way of dangerous currents, allowing the beach to be green-flagged all weekend.
With an estimated 70,000 people visiting the beach over a two-day span, only 12 rescues were made.
“It was a nice start,” Klosterman said.
Hesaid he hopes the favorable conditions hold out for the Fourth of July when a full crew of Marine Safety staff will try to protect 60,000 people in 5.5 miles of beach with 30 lifeguard stations.
“That starts to look like a pretty full coastline,” Klosterman said.
Lifeguard staff will be working overtime on the Fourth to ensure beach safety.
Prevention contacts are an important part of what the lifeguards do, Klosterman said. Getting out of the lifeguard tower, talking to people and educating them on safety precautions is a key to their success, he said.
“It prevents hundreds of accidents a day,” Klosterman said.
Safety personnel will be geared up in fire prevention mode for the holiday as well. Fire Chief Mike Macey said the department will have a squad of fire investigators patrolling areas with high risks of fires encouraging people to be cautious about fire safety.
“Our thing is all about education and prevention,” Macey said.
There will also be extra paramedic staff on call for the Fire Department.
Macey said that with only three ways in and out of the city, and the majority of the city being surrounded by extremely dry brush, fire prevention is an absolute must.
“You have a community that is surrounded by brush,” Macey said. “All those factors are exponential and they are extremely dangerous.”
Not only would a fire make for a difficult evacuation of residents, but the thousands of people on the beach would also have to be evacuated.
To prevent fires, all fireworks are banned in the city of Laguna Beach, even if they are “Safe and Sane” and bought legally in another city.
Violators may be subject to a misdemeanor or fine.
Residents are asked to refrain from using fireworks and instead enjoy the city’s fireworks show 15 minutes after dusk, about 9 p.m. from Main Beach.