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Safety front and center at collaborative

With two drowning deaths in Kern County so far this year, one a toddler and the

other a grown man, the focus on water safety has become more important for children and adults alike, a speaker told the gathering at Thursday morning's Collaborative meeting at 1950

Palm Ave.

Elvie Martinez of the Kern County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit said

there were 37 drownings in the county in 2017 and ten last year. She said last

Sunday a man jumped into Lake Isabella. Although he had not been found at the

time of Thursday's meeting, his body was found two days later.

In May, a 1-year-old boy drowned after falling in a pool in Bakersfield.

Martinez stressed some important water safety points that everyone should follow:

[BOX] Never swim alone.

[BOX] Don't drink and swim.

"Everyone needs to practice the buddy system," she said. "Kids aren't the only

ones who can get into trouble swimming."

In addition to her safety tips, Martinez displayed two Coast Guard Safety Life

Vests, one for an adult and the other for a child. "These are the life vests everyone

should have when going out into the open water," Martinez said. "Floaties and

inner tubes are not good enough."

Martinez said everyone should learn how to roll over and float so their head is

above the water. "Sometimes, inner tubes flip over and a swimmer can't get out of

it to get his/her head above the water," she said. "Everyone should know how to


She also brought up "dry drowning" warning signs. She said anyone who is pulled

up from the water needs medical attention. They can continue to cough, experience

an increased struggle to breathe, sleepiness, forgetfulness and or throwing up.

According to Parents Magazine, these symptoms can show up as long as 24 hours

after an incident, she said.

Another safety feature to prevent children from getting to an outdoor pool is to

have a 6-foot fence that is kept locked. Safety barriers or an alarm on a fence that

warns of someone opening the gate are both features that could prevent

unnecessary water incidents.

"Some people put bells on their doors leading to the outdoors," Martinez said.

Additionally, Martinez addressed the issue of heat stroke and the dangers of

leaving any person or animal in a vehicle during a warm day. "While the

temperature might only be 76 degrees outside, the car warms up quickly and could

get up to 96 degrees," she said. "So far, there have been 11 vehicle deaths in 2019;

however, none of those have been in California."


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