Mission to save lives

Four county lifeguard towers were outfitted with new solar-powered PA systems this month and all lifeguard towers received high-powered megaphones, thanks to donations from community supporters.

The Kauai Lifeguard Association, a nonprofit agency aimed at promoting ocean safety and supporting the Kauai Fire Department’s Ocean Safety Bureau, held its Third Wave fundraiser in October. Funds raised during the event allowed for the purchase of four new solar-powered PA systems, which were donated to the Ocean Safety Bureau and installed at the Kekaha, Poipu, Hanalei and Haena towers.

Donations also paid for high-powered, weatherproof megaphones to be used at each of the 10 lifeguard towers across the island.

“Having the megaphones and the solar-powered PA systems at key lifeguard towers will greatly improve our lifeguards’ ability to communicate to the masses,” said Andy Melamed, KLA event and marketing director.

Syngenta Hawaii donated $2,500 to install the new PA system at the Kekaha lifeguard tower. The company’s community outreach team recently visited Ocean Safety officials at MacArthur Park to view the new equipment.

“We are so happy that the Kauai Lifeguard Association presented this opportunity to support our first responders in their vital mission,” said Syngenta Kauai Outreach Manager Beth Tokioka. “Kauai’s lifeguards are true professionals and deserve the best tools we as a community can provide.”

The full cost of the new equipment was funded solely by donations. The PA systems, including installation, cost about $32,000 and the megaphones cost $4,095.

“The Ocean Safety Bureau continues to receive much-needed equipment such as the PA systems, jet skis, trailers and other life-saving tools that we wouldn’t be able to purchase through county funds alone,” said Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman. “We are very grateful to the Kauai Lifeguards Association, Syngenta Hawaii, and many other generous community donors who see the value of supporting our mission to save lives on and around Kauai’s beaches.”

Melamed added, “Lifeguards are seeing up to 2,000,000 beachgoers a year and having the proper equipment at the towers will help to save lives, which is the goal of the KLA Wave project. This year’s upcoming Fourth Wave event will focus on saving lives at Kauai’s unguarded beaches.”

The group looks to support the department’s goal to expand its Roving Lifeguard Unit, which consists of a team of two to three lifeguards equipped with a 4×4 truck, a jet ski and a trailer.

The roving unit acts as a mobile lifeguard tower and patrols various beaches to assist with ocean rescues and prevention efforts.

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