Are you ready for Water Rescue Season?
Water activities are a mainstay of summer fun especially in the Bakersfield heat. However, a day cooling off in a body of water like a pool, lake, or river can turn grim quickly.
The Bakersfield Fire Department (BFD) has already performed several water rescues this season; and in anticipation of many more to come, they will be training throughout the summer for the complex and difficult processes associated with water-based rescues.
BFD encourages you to think about potential hazards and safety precautions before entering the river or any body of water this summer. A temporary lapse in supervision is a common factor in most accidents. Child drownings can happen in a matter of seconds - in the time it takes to answer the phone, and there is often no splashing or screaming to warn of trouble.
According to Kern County Public Health Department, water related statistics for 2009, 18 people drowned, 11 people were hospitalized due to near drowning, and 37 people visited an emergency medical facility due to a near drowning or submersion related-event.
National statistics show that children are most at risk. A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of children ages four and under.
Each year, approximately 1,150 children ages 14 and under drown, and more than half are preschoolers ages zero to four. Each year, an estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near-drowning.
Unfortunately, these numbers are fairly consistent year-to-year and based on that trend, the BFD anticipates more unnecessary deaths and injuries to occur in the coming months in swimming pools, lakes, rivers and other static water sites.
In order to reduce these statistics, BFD offers these basic water safety rules:
➤ Call 911 immediately for a water related emergency
➤ Supervise children at all times
➤ Remember - flotation devices and inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision
➤ Learn to swim with COB Recreation and Parks – www.bakersfieldswim.us
➤ Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – www.kernredcross.org
➤ Never swim where there may be hidden hazards
➤ Never dive into any water unless you are sure of its depth
➤ Never enter canals, irrigation facilities or drainage ditches
➤ Wear a life jacket when appropriate
For more information and additional safety tips, please visit www.bakersfieldcity.us/fire.