“Summertime triple digit temperatures turn up the heat for water rescues”
July 9, 2015
When the temperatures reach the triple digits in the Sacramento Valley, residents flood the area waterways. On any given summer weekend, the shores of the local rivers and lakes are crowded with over heated locals and tourists looking to escape the heat through a little water adventure. With the Pacific Ocean and Lake Tahoe each only a short drive away, the options for water play are limitless in Northern California. Wake boarding, surfing, water skiing, tubing, kayaking, white water rafting, swimming, jet skiing and simply floating in the water are just a few of the options available to those looking to escape the Sacramento heat.
In California, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five (http://www.dds.ca.gov/drowning/). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States” (http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html) The Drowning Prevention Foundation lists several tips for safe water play including:
*Make sure kids have constant supervision when they are around water
*Teach kids survival swim skills
*Set water safety rules for the entire family
Many of the area’s fire departments have instituted their own public safety campaigns as well. The Sacramento Fire Department and the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District partnered with the Division of Boating and Waterways to provide complimentary life jackets available at select fire stations and American River parkways. The City of Roseville Fire Department produced a water safety video entitled “ The Basics of Water Safety” that they posted on their Facebook page and on their youtube channel.
During the month of July, the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department partnered with the Roseville/Sacramento Cascade Training Center on EMS Training. The topic covered was “treatment and rescue of the drowning pediatric patient”. Firefighters simulated a beach entry water rescue of a pediatric patient including recovery of the victim, patient evaluation and treatment all performed right on the shores of Lake Tahoe. The potential 911 response for a drowning victim is a reality for these crews every summer. The 4th of July holiday is one of the busiest days of the year for the SLT Fire Department. With visitors, locals, towels, beach blankets and umbrellas occupying nearly every inch of available sand, emergency responders are on high alert for water related incidents. The South Lake Tahoe Fire Department’s personnel came prepared for the training. Firefighters entered the icy water in teams of two to rescue the pediatric “patient”. Once the child manikin was brought to the shore, another team of Firefighters and Firefighter/Paramedics were waiting to immediately treat the child. CPR was started while the crews worked through the treatment protocol for a Pediatric Patient using their local policies. Pediatric intubation, intraosseous infusion, 12-Lead, drug dosages, and the braslow scale were just a few of the skills covered during the scenarios. Each case was followed up with a debriefing of the call. Crews were able to discuss the rescue and treatment response and share their ideas on what went well and how things could have been improved. The training was a great opportunity to work collaboratively out of the classroom. Even a few rain drops didn’t stop the crews and instructors from fulfilling the objectives of the session.
A few curious vacationers stopped their paddleboarding long enough to ask if everyone was ok during the drill. It’s South Lake Tahoe. It’s summertime. It’s away from the heat of the Sacramento Valley. It’s training to be the best. It was a great day for South Lake Tahoe Fire and for the Cascade Training Center Roseville/Sacramento.