A closer look at lifeguard vs. fire dept. rescue times

Siesta Key, Florida - A 19-year-old college football player is still in the hospital, recovering from a swimming incident Monday, after a rip current pulled him under water.

It happened around 6 p.m. but at that time -- at the country's number one beach -- no lifeguards were on duty.

It's left friends of Isaac Griffith wondering why lifeguards go off duty at 4:45, leaving beachgoers to swim at their own risk.

If lifeguards stayed until sundown, "it would've made a huge difference," says Mitch McCune. It was McCune who pulled his friend from the rip current and performed CPR.

According to a police report it took seven minutes from the time the call came in to dispatch for rescue crews to reach Griffith.

"If guards are out there, they are going to make response time a little bit quicker," says Captain Jerry Jensen with the Sarasota County Fire Department.

Jensen says their station is only a half a mile away from Siesta Key's pavilion, but it still takes time to reach those out on the sand. A near drowning call that came in on the beach Wednesday morning. It took lifeguards less than two minutes to attend to it, while fire crews didn't show up for 12.

"We do expand during the summer months until 7 pm," says lifeguard manager Scott Montgomery. Montgomery says it would be up to him if they added hours during the busiest time of the year,

"[It's] something we'll have to investigate," says Montgomery.


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