PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — During the warmer months, lifeguards are often busy and not always a few steps away. That’s why 14-year-old Kaial Hajik is trying to bridge the gap.
A Bay County teenager says one life is too many, leading him to create Lifebokx, a life-saving kit that he hopes will one day be a staple along Panama City Beach.
“There are at least 21 drownings over the past 4 years and it just kind of put a dagger in my chest,” said Hajik.
That statistic compelled Hajik to create Lifebokx. The prototype is a box containing life-saving gear.
“The person would come, pull the latches, and here would be all of your necessary equipment. We have a life vest or two with water-activated beacons,” said Hajik.
Each box costs around $500 to make and so far Hajik and his father have funded the project entirely. They say Lifebokx can provide bystanders with tools when seconds matter most.
“Distancing is a very structural part, we don’t want them to run a marathon to get it. We want to make sure it’s easily accessible,” said Hajik.
Among his inspiration for the project was Stacey Redmon, a Vernon man who died in 2019.
“He rushed out to the beach and saved someone’s life and sacrificed himself. I feel like if our Lifebokx was here he would still be alive today,” said Hajik.
Hajik’s father says good samaritans will always try to save distressed swimmers even if it means putting their own lives at risk, and this will give them a fighting chance.
“Give them the tools to survive, if they cannot reach the person, at least they can make it back to sure to their loved ones,” said Hajik.
Since creating it, Hajik has already presented his prototype to the Optimist Club of Panama City Beach. He hopes one day the city will allow several to be placed along the coast.