Wellfleet Prepared for Shark Emergency Response

WELLFLEET – Increased shark activity has been reported for the start of the summer season and the town of Wellfleet is prepared in case there are any emergencies.

The town focused on improving response following two attacks late last summer off the Outer Cape.

A New York man was bitten off Truro in August and has recovered. A Revere man was fatally wounded during an attack in September off Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet.

All lifeguards received “Stop the Bleed” training, the town acquired a new over sand vehicle, “Stop the Bleed” kits are publicly accessible at all beaches and emergency phones were installed at the four ocean side beaches.

New taller lifeguard stands were also purchased to improve visibility.

Lifeguard patrols have been extended on weekends through September for Newcomb Hollow Beach, and possibly Lecount Hollow Beach, if staff is available and weather permits.

Director of Community Services Suzanne Grout Thomas is not sure what else could have been done for this summer.

“If I knew of something that could be done that would be effective, that would be something to aim for,” Grout Thomas said.

She said beach managers and town managers are waiting for the release of a Woods Hole study for the Outer Cape communities.

“That will point us in the direction of what could possibly be effective at our beaches,” Grout Thomas said.

Town officials were anticipating the delivery of the new over sand rescue vehicle last week.

“It has tracks instead of tires and the bed is retrofitted to carry a patient on a backboard or a Stokes basket,” Grout Thomas said. The vehicle would be able to travel up the dune to increase emergency response time.

The vehicle also allows access to mud flats and swamps.

“It will winter over at the fire station so that they will have access to it,” she said.

The town funded the vehicle and other equipment at town meeting.

“We were lucky enough to be one of the six towns that got funding through the Commonwealth,” Grout Thomas said. “That made it easier to get them in before the season.”

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.

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