Safety & Emergency
Updated 5/10/17, 4PM:
The Florida Department of Health in Nassau County (DOH Nassau) cautions everyone about the health effects of wildfire smoke as a respiratory irritant, which can cause scratchy throat, coughing, headaches or irritated eyes and nose. Smoky conditions continue to occur in Nassau County from wildfires in the Okefenokee Swamp, located to the west of Nassau County, in southeastern Georgia and northern Florida.
The smoke comes from drifting wildfires and the smoke intensity will vary according to wind conditions, so for the latest updates, go to The Nassau County Emergency Management Facebook page
Breathing in smoke can worsen asthma, and other chronic lung or heart conditions. Dust generated from increased wildfire response activity on dirt roads may also worsen these conditions. To protect yourself and your family from smoke:
- Pay attention to local air quality reports, news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.
- Avoid prolonged outdoor activities. This is especially important for children and persons with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Stay indoors and run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with recirculated air. If you do not have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed maybe dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.
- Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside you home. Do not smoke.
- Follow your doctor’s advice about taking medicines and following the individual asthma management care plan if you or a loved one has asthma or other lung disease. Call your doctor if symptoms worsen.
- If you have to be outside being prepared is key. Be mindful of the air quality conditions where you will be spending time outdoors. Stay tuned into special advisory warnings for the area. Note that wearing a special N95 or P100 respirator mask can help protect you against fine particles found in smoke. Paper or surgical masks are not effective in preventing inhalation of smoke.
What are the rules for enjoying Amelia Island's beaches?
Amelia Island's beaches have long been a source of beauty, enjoyment and wonder, and unlike many Florida beaches, Amelia Island offers virtually unlimited access to its coast. Visitors will experience an unparalleled sense of calm and peace as they stroll along the 13 miles of pristine beach. Amelia Island’s entire length along the Atlantic Coast is available for running, walking or simply relaxing.
An island-wide ordinance requires visitors to remove items or move them to designated storage areas before 8p.m. You can read the ordinance here.
Learn how you can help enjoy our beaches safely and responsibly:
Now Boarding: Amelia Island Beach Guide from Amelia Island CVB on Vimeo.
To ensure a pleasant stay and preserve our beaches for others, please bear in mind the following rules and tips:
- Leave no trace. Only your footprints should remain on the beach when you depart. Any belongings left unattended after sunset will be considered discarded and may be removed. This includes tents, tent poles (“spiders”), cabanas, coolers and any other personal effects.
- Fill in holes. Sandcastles are fun by day, but holes can be dangerous for walkers, turtles and even birds.
- Prohibited: Alcoholic beverages, littering, glass containers, overnight camping within city limits, unleashed animals, fishing line that interferes with general public use, Parking of vehicles unless in designated area. It is also unlawful for any person to bathe, swim, or wash in any body of water within the city limits, naked or insufficiently clothed.
- Pets: All pets are to remain leashed at all times and owner must clean up after your pet.
- Horses: No horses are allowed inside city limits or north of Sadler Road Beach Access at any time. They are allowed south of Sadler Road Beach Access during the months of May through October between 5pm and sunset and sunrise until 11am. During the months of November through April horses are allowed south of Sadler Road Access within designated area and remain off dunes and vegetation. Exceptions for horses on the beach are for commercial business with permits.
- Sea Turtles:
- The City of Fernandina Beach has enacted a lighting ordinance restricting artificial beachfront lighting between sunset and sunrise from May 1 through October 31. Call the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch at 904-583-1913 to report any disturbed or disoriented hatchlings, or any dead or injured sea turtles.
- Tread lightly amongst turtles. 90 percent of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. takes place in Florida, and Amelia Island is one of the idyllic spots where the ancient rituals of nesting and hatching unfold during spring and summer. Home to 4 species of nesting sea turtles, each year those born in the sands of Amelia Island travel back to their birthplace to lay their eggs. Only one in 1,000 will survive to adulthood, so protection of nesting is critical to the survival of these species. Learn simple ways to minimize your impact on sea turtles during your visit.
- Lifeguards: Lifeguards are stationed along 3 main areas of beaches on Amelia Island during the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The towers are staffed during daytime hours weather permitting. All hazard flags should not be ignored and swimming should always be done by using the buddy system.
- Riptides: A rip tide, or undertow, is a small but strong channel of water moving out to sea. Rip tides are characterized by darker, deeper and foamier water, sometimes with floating debris. The area where the rip is, is usually calm with a rippled surface and smaller waves. If you get caught in a rip tide, remain calm, and do not swim directly against it. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you are past the current, and then swim toward the shore.
- Sea Oats and Sand Dunes: Please do not pick sea oats, walk, or drive on the dunes. This is a Florida State law.
- Surfers: Surfers must have their surfboards tethered to one leg while in the water.
How do I know when the water is safe for entering?
If you would like to receive Surf and Flag advisories, simply text: BCHSAFE to 888777 and you will receive conditions twice daily as well as any immediate change to surf conditions if something happens that warrants such a change. Messaging and data rates may apply. If you wish to stop receiving these alerts, simply text: STOP to 888777.
Look out for beach flags, which indicate the condition of the water.
What if I have an emergency or need medical attention?
Emergency: dial 911
Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222
Fernandina Beach Fire Department: 904-277-7331
Nassau County Fire Department: 904-491-7525
Amelia Urgent Care
1987 S. 8th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Baptist Medical Center – Nassau
1250 South 18th St
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
2101 Sadler Rd, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
870 Sadler Rd, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Updated 12/14/16: Florida no longer has any identified areas with active Zika transmission. Governor Rick Scott announced on 12/13/16 that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has cleared the Miami Beach area of local Zika transmission. No locally-acquired cases have been reported in Nassau County. For updated information, visit the CDC Zika map.