The Baldwin County Commission has agreed to purchase a variety of rip current warning signs to be placed strategically along Fort Morgan. It’s been a talking point for weeks, but we now know the direction the county’s going. The county EMA director brought the package to the Commission Tuesday morning, May 8, 2018 and now it’s just a matter of putting in the order.
It’s the next step in making Fort Morgan beaches a safer destination for visitors. Last week, the Baldwin County Commission agreed to purchase an EMILY lifesaving buoy for Fort Morgan Fire-Rescue. Now it’s agreed on what kind of warning signs to buy and where they will go. The signs, along with other measures either already in place or in the works aim to cut down on the number of emergency calls for swimmers in distress.
“The more we can put this out, the more information therein and hopefully, somebody…if it saves one life…if one person heeds the warning signs we put out, it will be well worth it,” said Baldwin County EMA Director, Jessie Peacock.
ALDOT has agreed to let the county place four solar powered, flashing signs along Fort Morgan Road that can be turned on remotely when the National Weather Service issues a rip current warning. There will also be rip current advisory and warning plaques posted at 25 public access points along the peninsula. Those who live there are glad to see the commitment to safety.
“This is not a perfect solution, but at least we’re trying to inform the public that they need to stay out of the water if there’s a chance of rip currents,” said Ft. Morgan resident, Ron Slovensky.
Along with these efforts, the county is also hoping to purchase space on an electronic billboard. Visitors traveling to the gulf would get the first visual warning on Highway 59 before they cross over the bridge onto the island. It would run for six seconds and repeat every 30 seconds. Commissioners are hoping to partner with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on the sign to get more frequency.
“You have to tell the people, but the people also have to listen,” Peacock explained. “They come down here on vacation. They come to the beach to get in the water. We need to inform them as to how dangerous these waters can be especially during the high rip current warnings.”
The cost for the signs is expected to be less than $10,000. Once the signs are purchased, the Fort Morgan Fire Department will start placing them on the beach and ALDOT will install the solar powered signs along the highway. Officials hope to have begun that process by Memorial Day weekend.
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