EDITORIAL

Creativity can save lives

Posted 7/26/23

Whether you’ve been swept off your feet by a knee-deep river while hiking or found yourself caught in a rip tide, anyone with such an experience can attest to the exceptionally frightening …

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EDITORIAL

Creativity can save lives

Posted

Whether you’ve been swept off your feet by a knee-deep river while hiking or found yourself caught in a rip tide, anyone with such an experience can attest to the exceptionally frightening power of fast-moving water.

Incidents like the one that happened off Conimicut Point two years ago, where a young girl was swept away by the tide, and a heroic man who tried to save her, both perished, happen every day along our world’s coastlines. They’ve happened at Conimicut six times total since 2008. And while we may not be able to prevent them from happening altogether, we can certainly do more to prevent the next one.

This is why we’re giving a tip of the cap and a shout out to the efforts coming from Warwick, and its mayor, Frank Picozzi, to conceptualize and build a novel but (hopefully) effective means to warn swimmers, anglers, and all who might find themselves walking along sections of beach they might not realize are dangerous about impending tidal changes that could threaten their safety.

Events like what happened off Conimicut Point are the kinds of tragedies that, regardless of your level of political cynicism, must weigh heaviest on the minds of any public official; but particularly a mayor, who is in effect charged with maintaining and ensuring the safety as best as possible of all the residents who reside in the municipality which they oversee. It seems to hold true for Picozzi, who was on the scene that particularly horrible day.

But rather than dwell on the what-ifs and mourn, he got to thinking creatively about how the situation could be made safer. Known well before becoming mayor for his elaborate Christmas light displays that pair with audio from speakers, he wondered if there was a way to craft an alert system of sorts that could warn people of incoming tidal shifts in addition to the signs erected in the wake of the tragedy.

With some help from city information systems manager Phil Carlucci, and from some components taken from an old police car, that MacGyver-ed system will hopefully be installed in the next couple of weeks, complete with lighting components and speakers to provide warnings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

It’s a commendable, low-priced, and hopefully effective means to make one of our popular shores a bit safer, and it’s an invention you could imagine being replicated in other seaside communities, or even patented to turn into a profitable product.

But this prototypical piece of safety equipment was never intended to make money, rather just to hopefully one day spare a life that may otherwise have been lost. And that’s worth more than anything.

W

hether you’ve been swept off your feet by a knee-deep river while hiking or found yourself caught in a rip tide, anyone with such an experience can attest to the exceptionally frightening power of fast-moving water.

Incidents like the one that happened off Conimicut Point two years ago, where a young girl was swept away by the tide, and a heroic man who tried to save her, both perished, happen every day along our world’s coastlines. They’ve happened at Conimicut six times total since 2008. And while we may not be able to prevent them from happening altogether, we can certainly do more to prevent the next one.

This is why we’re giving a tip of the cap and a shout out to the efforts coming from Warwick, and its mayor, Frank Picozzi, to conceptualize and build a novel but (hopefully) effective means to warn swimmers, anglers, and all who might find themselves walking along sections of beach they might not realize are dangerous about impending tidal changes that could threaten their safety.

Events like what happened off Conimicut Point are the kinds of tragedies that, regardless of your level of political cynicism, must weigh heaviest on the minds of any public official; but particularly a mayor, who is in effect charged with maintaining and ensuring the safety as best as possible of all the residents who reside in the municipality which they oversee. It seems to hold true for Picozzi, who was on the scene that particularly horrible day.

But rather than dwell on the what-ifs and mourn, he got to thinking creatively about how the situation could be made safer. Known well before becoming mayor for his elaborate Christmas light displays that pair with audio from speakers, he wondered if there was a way to craft an alert system of sorts that could warn people of incoming tidal shifts in addition to the signs erected in the wake of the tragedy.

With some help from city information systems manager Phil Carlucci, and from some components taken from an old police car, that MacGyver-ed system will hopefully be installed in the next couple of weeks, complete with lighting components and speakers to provide warnings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

It’s a commendable, low-priced, and hopefully effective means to make one of our popular shores a bit safer, and it’s an invention you could imagine being replicated in other seaside communities, or even patented to turn into a profitable product.

But this prototypical piece of safety equipment was never intended to make money, rather just to hopefully one day spare a life that may otherwise have been lost. And that’s worth more than anything.

creativity, save, lives

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