Walton County officials are encouraging all to respect the Gulf

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SANTA ROSA BEACH Fla. (WMBB)– After countless water rescues already this summer Walton County officials are finding new ways to encourage beach-goers to stay safe. 

“It is crucial that people understand, before they even hit the beach, what the flag system means,” said South Walton Fire District Beach Safety Director David Vaughan.

In June so far, 15 days have been spent flying red or double red flags. Walton County officials have found a new way to encourage all to respect the gulf. They have put magnets showing the flag system on vehicles, some being Waste Management trucks.

“Even in an unlikely place like that, it’s not the first thing you would think of but it is an obvious choice when you think about how prevalent they are in the community,” said Vaughan. “So visitors and locals alike, when they see that it is just a gentle reminder that hey, the flag system is out there and you should know about it.”

Vaughan and SWFD aren’t going to stop there, they are looking into purchasing some decals for the back of their vehicles too.

“We are getting the messaging out on just about every media format we can think of,” he said. “Magnets, coasters, and anything that we can come up with, with our partners and our sister agencies.”

Walton County Code Compliance is also gaining attention with this flag system display.

“I’ve already heard stories about people pulling up to red lights and vehicles to the side of us looking over and you can tell that they are looking at it and reading it, so more and more people are learning about the beach being closed during double red flags,” said Code Compliance Director Tony Cornman.

Cornman hopes to also add flags to their code ATVs that travel on the beaches daily. Both Vaughan and Cornman hope this new display will encourage all to return home safely after their vacations.

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