LEMA to hold training

This article first appeared in The Meridian Star. 

by Thomas Howard
[email protected]

Local residents who love heading to the beach will want to mark their calendars as the Lauderdale County Emergency Management plans to hold a rip current training class to teach people how to safely navigate the dangerous ocean current.

LEMA Director Odie Barrett said many in Lauderdale County head to the gulf shore for vacation, spring break or other holidays, yet rip current training is not as common in in-land communities as it is in costal areas.

“I wanted to get something going because of the number of people in Lauderdale County that go to the beach every single year,” he said.

Rip currents are strong, narrow currents that flow away from the beach. The currents can be extremely dangerous to swimmers who panic or are not properly trained on what to do.

Over the past 10 years, Barrett said, 191 people have been killed by rip currents. Many of those who were killed were not from coastal communities where rip current training is prevalent.

LEMA’s training class, which is set for May 9 at 7 p.m. at Meridian Community College’s Workforce Development Center, will teach local residents to identify rip currents and safely navigate back to shore, Barrett said.

“I felt that was something we needed to do for our community is to offer this class of what a rip tide is, how to identify it, what to do when you get in this rip current, how to safe your life and the safety aspects of it,” he said.

Barrett said on Thursday that emergency management officials in Baldwin County, Alabama had graciously agreed to provide LEMA with some training supplies and materials for the class, and he planned to go down there to collect them over the weekend.

With the training materials on hand, Barrett said he will look to make rip current training an annual event to help residents have fun safely at the beach.

Contact Thomas Howard on Twitter @tmhoward

The do’s and don’ts of home renovations

If you are looking to shift to a new house or want to renovate your existing one, the first thing you will need to think about is the painting. While it may be tempting to hire a professional to do it if you have never painted before, it will cost you a lot of money. Painting your own house allows you to experiment with something new and will help you save thousands of dollars.

Read more