Local News

Monday, Jun 10 2013 09:36 AM

'First Look': The heat is on -- and we have water, fireworks and summer safety info

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    Bakersfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza talks about water safety and more on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

In the next week or so, expect to see a new public service announcement bringing into sharp focus the importance of pool and water safety. A mother goes inside to answer the phone, and a child wanders into a pool. The child drowns.

"It's so avoidable. That's what we try to get out to people," Bakersfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Anthony Galagaza said Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox." Water-related incidents are the No. 1 cause of accidental death in children under age 5.

The advice: Get swimming lessons for the kids. Install alarms on pool gates, in addition to the gates themselves. Keep all kids within arm's reach. Place phones nearby. Never think you can go inside and leave kids behind, not even for a second.

The battalion chief also shared safety messages on everything from fireworks to creating defensible space around property.

"We're warning everybody out there," Galagaza said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox, who noted his house burned down when he was a kid, said "summer is here, and it's fraught with danger."

* On fireworks:

"If you want to see how bad it can get, I can give you the address," Cox said.

"It's Mogadishu in east Bakersfield," Cox said, adding he thinks people are bringing illegal fireworks here from Mexico.

Cox said he does not know that it's worse here than anywhere else, but he sees fireworks eventually being banned because people aren't acting safely with them.

"It may not be you who gets hurt, but somebody in your family," Galagaza said.

* On clearing property:

Fire season started early and could extend into November, the battalion chief said.

So you need to look at your property and see what needs to be cleared, Cox said, noting fires start as easily as a grinder sparking to someone improperly discarding a cigarette.

Galagaza urged people to move wood piles away from their homes.

Galagaza also noted that a lot of residents in east and central Bakersfield have older homes with wood shake roofs. While firefighters encourage people to replace them, not everyone can afford to do so.

The city has a very high number of structure fires, the battalion chief said.

* On river safety:

Cox noted that even the low water level in the Kern River is scary and dangerous.

That's where the danger is -- you might think it's safe because it's low, but it's not, Galagaza said.

"They need to just stay out," Galagaza said.

* On heat safety:

Galagaza urged people to stay hydrated when they're exercising or working in the yard or on their house. Wear a hat, keep cool, and watch if you're sweating profusely, or worse, yet, not at all.

Go to bakersfieldfire.us for more advice from the fire department.

 

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