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How the FDNY, NYPD are keeping New Yorkers safe at beaches as heat soars

Ways the FDNY, NYPD are keeping New Yorkers safe at beaches as heat soars
Ways the FDNY, NYPD are keeping New Yorkers safe at beaches as heat soars 02:23

NEW YORK -- There's an increased focus on safety during this expected heat wave as people try to keep cool. 

As temperatures soar, New Yorkers are flocking to the beaches to escape the heat. The FDNY wants to make sure people stay safe both on land and in the water. 

How the FDNY, NYPD are keeping New Yorkers safe at the beaches

The FDNY's "Gator Unit" is a specialized division which uses small, versatile trucks known as "gators" to get to hard-to-reach areas, even in challenging areas like on sand. They handle both medical emergencies and fires. 

The FDNY is also offering tips for those seeking relief in the ocean: Watch out for dangerous waves and rip currents. If you get caught in a rip current, don't panic. Stay calm, and swim parallel to the shore. 

"Water rescues in general are highest between this time of year and the week of 4th of July. As you can imagine, it's the time where both it's hottest and people are off, right? So people are going to the water in droves, so it is really important to stay safe," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. 

"Since we've been tracking, they've gone up every year. A lot of it has to do with how clean the water is now, how many people surf, swim, triathlons, the New York City ferry system. There's so many things that contribute to it. But since we've been tracking it, the Fire Department, as far as water rescues, goes on hundreds of rescues a year," FDNY Capt. Michael Romano said. 

Drones used to help keep people safe

The NYPD is also deploying its drone team to get real-time surveillance of the water and shore. It can spot a person in distress, and detect the presence of sharks getting too close to the shore. In the latter case, lifeguards are alerted to get everyone out of the water. All of the members of the drone team are EMS-trained and can respond to emergencies.

"If there is a swimmer in distress, we have safety devices that are on the drones that can be dropped, that inflate upon impact in the water," said FDNY Lt. David Melendez, who is in the Robotics Unit.

If you're not near the water and you're looking for ways to stay cool. The FDNY said you can request a spray cap from your local firehouse. You attach it to a local hydrant so kids and adults can in the water and keep cool. You must be over 18, show ID and fill out a form. 

New York City beaches are open every day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The FDNY says people should make sure a lifeguard is present, and to never leave children unattended. Check for posted signs and flags before entering the water. A yellow flag means swimming is permitted but not recommended. Red flags mean swimming and wading is not permitted. And green means go. 

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