North Avenue Beach reopens for hot day

May 31, 2011 4:15:04 PM PDT
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is backing the decision to close North Avenue Beach Monday evening.

The beach was reopened Tuesday, but Monday night, the beach was closed after several people became sick because of the heat.

Mayor Emanuel said he learned about the decision to close the beach Tuesday morning. He said that the right steps were taken to ensure the safety of people at the beach.

"They took the appropriate professional judgment that was necessary," said Mayor Emanuel.

Mayor Emanuel backed up the decision by Chicago police to close North Avenue Beach Monday evening after several people began showing signs of heat-related sickness. The beach was closed at about 6 p.m. after ambulances responded to what the mayor says was a tremendous amount of calls about beachgoers being overcome by the heat. Four people were taken to area hospitals.

"The police in judgment with the paramedics made a decision that for the paramedics to do their job, the beach needed to be closed," Emanuel said.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Chicago police said, "Access to individuals calling for emergency medical services was hampered because of the crowded conditions. After consultation with CFD personnel, the Chicago Police Department made the decision to close the beach. The Chicago Police Department has the authority and responsibility to take such action in the interest of public safety, and has done so in the past.

Some people who were at the beach Monday returned Tuesday, and some agree that too much exposure to heat could have been a problem and can understand why the beach was closed.

"It made sense to me if there were too many people, and it was too hot, and it was an uncontrollable situation, it makes sense," said James O'Brien.

"I think that that's everyone's responsibility, to realize where you stand with that and to be able to take care of yourself when you feel like it's overwhelming, time to take a step back," said Kayla Ward.

The mayor went on to say there will be a review of the response to what happened, just like there was analysis of the city's response to the blizzard back in February. The mayor also says that there will be analysis done to determine whether there needs to be a beach closing protocol established.

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