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Local woman advocates for rip current awareness

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:10 AM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

In 2020, nine people drowned in Panama City Beach and three in South Walton, according to the United States Lifesaving Association.

It started as a normal beach trip with Alisha Redmon’s family.

“You’ll never get over anything like that,” Redmon said.

But her life changed overnight.

“I don’t want another family to have to go through what myself and my children- because I’m not the only one that’s suffering, my children had to watch this,” said Redmon.

Alisha’s husband Stacey Redmon tried to save visitors who went into the water during double red flags and were caught in a rip current.

“My husband went in to save that child, and unfortunately he didn’t get to come back,” said Redmon.

The mother is now advocating for rip current awareness and wants Florida to pass ‘Stacey’s Law’

The law would require hotels and condos to post rip current warnings in their rooms.

“If it saves one person’s life, it means the world to me, it’s well worth it,” Redmon said.

But she doesn’t want the change to stop there.

“The lifeguards, there’s not enough on this beach, for as many miles as we have here,” said Redmon.

In Panama City Beach there are 16 lifeguards that patrol the beach within the city limits.

In Walton County, there are between 30 and 45 lifeguards that patrol 26 miles of beach.

Recently the Walton County commission has taken steps to keep people from getting in the water during double red flags by raising fines, a move similar to what Panama City Beach did last year.

“You can get in trouble, not just monetarily, but it can cost your life, you could cost someone else their life, and that’s what happened with Stacey,” said Redmon.

She added she never thought her husband would go into the water and not return to her.

“When I hear of someone drowning, it brings back those memories and those feelings, and my heart is just crushed,” said Redmon.

She said locals need to help get the message out.

“We’re serious about it down here on the beach, we want you to come down and visit, but we want you to go home safe too, so you can come back,” Redmon said.

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