A Hallandale Beach lifeguard was fired by Jeff Ellis Management for leaving his zone to rescue a drowning man.
Thomas Lopez ran a few 100 yards away, into the “swim at your own risk” zone, to help other swimmers bring the drowning man to shore. Then he returned to his post, expecting to be fired. He knew it had happened before.
Sharing his story on an NBC Miami video, Lopez is joined by two lifeguards who’d been fired and others who quit in protest over the policy.
After looking into what happened Ellis offered Lopez his job back. Certainly the company could have liability issues over lifeguards leaving a post, but what else should they do - let people drown?
The real question is why isn’t Hallandale providing full lifeguard protection, instead of just at its North and South beaches? Until it does, Jeff Ellis should at least have extra lifeguards available for emergency situations.
Tell Hallandale to protect all of its beaches!
We, the undersigned, believe Hallandale should provide lifeguard protection for its entire beach.
It is unreasonable to expect a lifeguard covering a protected zone to ignore the cries of a person drowning in an adjacent area, and the entire situation begs the question as to why there is/are unprotected swimming areas in such a small town in the first place.
It seems negligent for a city to put a company in a position of liability if its guard leaves a protected area post, and totally unfair to place the burden of this situation on a young lifeguard just trying to do the right thing.
Looking at the information on Hallandale’s website, the city, with a total area of 4.55 square miles, doesn’t appear to be one that cannot afford to protect all of its beaches.
We request that it set aside funds to make all swimming areas lifeguard protected.