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Teaching to keep heads above water

Posted: June 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Rebecca Ferguson, 6, of Valencia throws a ring buoy during the water Safety Expo held at Fire Station 126 in Valencia on Saturday.

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“Kids, this is just pretend,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Savage over a speakerphone.
A young child, Dylan Muller, was about to pretend to drown so emergency personnel could demonstrate the protocol that accompanies a drowning incident.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department orchestrated the demonstration Saturday as a part of its third annual Water Safety Expo.
Booths for many emergency response services were set up to distribute information during the event. There were also places to sign up for CPR training and swimming classes.
“Children and water can be a dangerous combination,” Savage said. “We just need people to be prepared.”
Darrin Privett, an emergency physician at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, spoke to attendees Saturday on how to promote safety in and around bodies of water.
Privett particularly emphasized the importance of never leaving a child unattended near water. The time it takes to reach for a towel, he said, can be enough for a child to become submerged.
“Drownings are 100 percent preventable,” he said.
Privett reviewed some of the steps to help prevent drowning, such as active adult supervision, barriers for pools and swimming classes for children.
The importance of paying attention to children near water was a common theme at the event. Savage emphasized that while emergency crews are always ready to respond to a drowning incident, a parent or bystander who is able to perform CPR or get a child out of the water quickly can make all the difference.
“If you are not watching the water, tragedy can occur,” Savage said.
Learning about water safety was one of the things that attracted Stephanie Eckelman and her family to the event.
Eckelman said she saw signs advertising the event around the Westfield Valencia Town Center and decided to stop by with her children.
“Safety’s always a good thing, and there’s always more you can learn,” she said.



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