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Jun 26, 2019 9:42 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Provides Free Sunscreen At Parks And Beaches

One of the sunscreen stations at Tiana Beach.  DANA SHAW
Jun 26, 2019 11:47 AM

The Town of Southampton, in partnership with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, has installed free sunscreen dispensers at 17 town parks and beaches, to help people protect themselves from the sun.

People are able to place their hands under the bright yellow dispensers without touching them, and a small amount of 30 SPF sunscreen comes out.

The idea was floated to Town Board member Christine Scalera by Creative Advertising Concepts, or CAC, which had installed the dispensers for other municipalities on Long Island. Ms. Scalera thought it would be a great idea to implement a similar program in Southampton.

“I know we give our lifeguards umbrellas, and we encourage everybody to use sunscreen, because it’s important, particularly now—you hear more and more cases of people getting it,” Ms. Scalera said, referring to the risk of skin cancer. “Obviously, it’s not just older people, it’s starting young, and it is better we get in these habits now so that it becomes automatic—like putting on your seatbelt or anything else.”

She also said instead of town residents paying for the initiative, CAC partnered with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital to cover the costs.

Barbara-Jo Howard, the director of communications and marketing for the hospital, said the hospital was happy to sponsor the sunscreen program and has given $25,000, which will cover the filling and refilling the dispensers for the next three years.

“The Southampton Hospital stepped up, and it made sense for them, and they were enthusiastic about underwriting the cost for putting them in,” Ms. Scalera said.

Ms. Howard said it only made sense because the hospital’s mission is to promote health and wellness and to be an active proponent of such initiatives.

The dispensers have been placed at eight beaches, including Pikes, Tiana, Ponquogue, Flying Point, W. Scott Cameron, Mecox, Sagg Main and Long Beach, as well as Hampton West, Wildwood Lake Park, Ludlam Avenue Park, the East Quogue Village Green, Good Ground Park, Red Creek Park, the Old Ponquogue Bridge Pier, the Tiana Bayside recreation facility and the North Sea Community Park.

Kristen Doulos, the town’s director of parks and recreation, said on Tuesday that park and beach attendants will be responsible for maintaining the sunscreen dispensers on a daily basis, and that CACs will come around once a week to ensure all of them are working as intended.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to provide sunscreen to people at our facilities,” she said. “It’s so important to have sun safety available.”

Ms. Doulos said her department runs a number of camps and programs at the parks and beaches, so children who may not have sunscreen, whether because they forgot it or cannot afford it, will be able to cover up.

She also said she thinks the dispensers at parks will be used more than the ones at the beach because most people include sunscreen in their beach bags. For those heading to the parks, she said, it might be easier to forget the sunscreen.

“It’s a good educational opportunity to remind people this is really important,” Ms. Doulos said. “It’s a good reminder and a good backup plan. Everybody should be getting in the habit of putting it on 365 days a year.”

The dispensers will be available through Labor Day.

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This is a great idea, I'm very happy the town made this happen!
By CampHero (10), East Quogue on Jun 26, 19 12:34 PM
What a good idea : )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Jun 26, 19 1:15 PM