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Drownings or near-drownings averaging one a week in SCV

Posted: August 1, 2012 6:29 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2012 6:29 p.m.

L.A. County firefighter/paramedics Nate Denver, left, and Andrew Herrera demonstrate life saving chest compression t echnique as it might be used on a drowning victim at a city of Santa Clarita press conference at North Oaks Park Pool in Canyon Country to raise pool safety awareness on Wednesday.

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Drownings or near-drownings are numbering one a week in the Santa Clarita Valley this summer, safety officials said Wednesday during a news conference at North Oaks Community Pool in Canyon Country.

As children splashed in the pool under the watchful eyes of lifeguards, officials warned parents about the dangers of being distracted around pools when children are involved.

In 2010, the last year for which numbers are available, there were 13 drownings or near-drownings in the Santa Clarita Valley over the course of the entire summer, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokeswoman Stephanie English said in an earlier interview.

Of the 12 drownings or near-drownings in the past three months, 11 victims were children under the age of 14, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Niccum.

Just one adult and one child actually died as a result of drowning this summer, Niccum said.

“Almost every near-drowning occurs within five minutes of not paying attention to your sons and daughters,” Santa Clarita Mayor Frank Ferry said during the news conference. Ferry said he was saved from drowning by an alert neighbor when he was just 5 years old.

Parents are urged to install locking gates, fences, alarmed doors that lead to pools and teach their children to swim, but the most important way to prevent drownings is by having an alert and non-distracted adult watching children near pools at all times, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mark Savage.

“Someone needs to be assigned to actively watch the water, so no one’s going to distract this adult,” Savage said. “It just takes a moment for a kid to slip under the water unnoticed.”

For more information on drownings in the Santa Clarita Valley, visit




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