Panama City Beach releases warning against forming human chains

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A video recently posted to social media shows people forming a human chain to save someone from a rip current in Panama City Beach, but that’s exactly what first responders say not to do.

This was the case on Wednesday.

Typically people hold each other’s arms to help bring in someone struggling in the Gulf.

Panama City Beach officials are concerned about this type of rescue.

Those involved in Wednesday’s attempt were able to get back to the beach safely. However, Beach Fire Rescue officials say there is a better way to handle the situation in the future.

“If you are in a situation like that and you see somebody in trouble, the best thing to do is call 9-1-1,” said Wil Spivey, Panama City Beach Fire Rescue beach safety director. “That starts a whole process, where we’re getting emergency responders on scene, people that are trained to effect rescues in the Gulf who have the proper equipment and all the medical equipment that will help come to the aid of someone in trouble in the Gulf.”

Spivey adds the Gulf is a beautiful body of water, but it can be dangerous if people do not take head-on flag warnings.

He also adds the Beach Fire Rescue team is still in the process of hiring lifeguards. Another academy will take place in May.

Anyone interested in helping protect and rescue others professionally can reach out to Spivey through city hall or the fire department.

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