SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — In an effort to provide a safe and secure experience for residents, visitors and Spring Breakers, city officials of this coastal city have made preparations for this annual upcoming vacation period.
South Padre Island police and fire department officials discussed their plans for Spring Break Thursday morning during a press conference.
SPI Fire Chief Jim Pigg kicked off the press conference with his department’s preparations.
“We’re expecting a good Spring Break this year,” Pigg said. “We’re wanting to be prepared so we have a safe, effective Spring Break for the public.”
He said a mobile medical unit tent will be set up at Tompkins Park, which is on the north side of the Island.
There will be ambulances stationed there that will transport critical and urgent care patients off the Island to local hospitals.
Additionally, the department will utilize an ambus, which will be stationed on White Sands St.
Pigg said the street will be closed to vehicular traffic, but pedestrians will still have access to the beach.
“In that area, we’ll also have ambulances staged for critical patients,” Pigg said. “The ambus will hold up to 15 patients at a time so in the event that we have multiple victims or multiple patients at one time, we’ll be able to put them in that bus and if we need to transport them to the tent we can do that or we can transport them off the Island over to one of our local hospitals.”
Beach patrol and ocean safety personnel will be stationed near Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill.
Personnel will transport patients from that location to the ambus via the beach.
Additionally, Pigg said there will be mobile lifeguards monitoring the beach between Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill and Rockstar Beach, which is in the Isla Grand Beach Resort area.
“In between we’re going to have roving units that will be out there for all of our families and people that are out there taking advantage of the beach and the Spring Break that we’re offering,” Pigg said. “While you’re out there we do want to advise that if you are going to go swimming you make sure that you swim with someone and have somebody with you at all times.”
Pigg also advises that people should stay hydrated and wear sunblock, they shouldn’t drink from any cans or liquid containers that could be compromised and they shouldn’t go into the water while intoxicated.
“We want to emphasize safety,” Pigg said. “We want everyone to come out and go home safely so if anybody needs anything, they can come by the fire station or call the fire station.”
SPI Chief of Police Claudine O’Carroll also discussed her team’s preparations during the press conference.
“Primarily, we’re here to protect and serve the community for Spring Break as we have done in the past,” O’Carroll said. “We had our external law enforcement meeting this week and we met with our state and federal partners so they’ve all committed their assistance to us for the month of March.”
O’Carroll said some assisting law enforcement personnel will be from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Homeland Security and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
There will also be crime victim advocates at the city’s police station for two weeks.
“We will have crime victim support here at the station for anybody that gets into any bother out there on the Island and doesn’t necessarily want to file any kind of police report,” O’Carroll said.
Additionally, she said there will be heavy staffing in areas that attract big crowds such as the south end of the Island by Rockstar Beach and at the north end near Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill.
“I think the last couple of years we had a pretty good presence here on the Island from all of the partners and have been able to keep everything relatively under control,” O’Carroll said. “We had one of the biggest concerts last year on the beach with Cardi B and luckily enough we had zero incidents at that location, so I think we’re getting it down.”