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Deaths and rescues on Kern County rivers are rising despite warnings

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-04 21:31:11-04
Despite several recent deaths and rescues on our local rivers - people are still heading to the dangerous waterways to cool off.   23ABC’s Adam Bowles has the message today from Kern County’s Emergency Agencies on why this year is especially dangerous.
 
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They say this is already the worst year for drownings we have ever had and the river season hasn’t even started yet.
 
“We feel scared," Brynn Carrigan says."  "We know this is something that needs to be addressed early and frequently so the community takes serious action.”
 
They’re calling for action after five deaths on the Tule river and two deaths on the Kern River.   These lives were changed forever and these deaths could have been prevented.
 
“The water is moving so fast," Brian Marshall says.  "The water is going to increase as the snow melt adds more water to the river.”
 
The river has dramatically changed.  It’s eleven times more powerful than this time last year.  With hot summer days ahead, more Kern County residents will head to the water to cool off.   But what you can’t see underneath in the water could potentially end your life.
 
“People get in to the water and they get hung up on trees, branches, debris in the river,"  Marshall says. "They get forced under and you become a drowning victim like that.”
 
It only takes a few seconds for the river to sweep you off your feet. This critical time frame would be too late for responders to save you in a remote location.
 
The message from Kern’s Emergency Response teams is simple.  If you perform CPR on someone who is going into cardiac arrest, they are two to three times more likely to survive if CPR is started right away.  It’s one simple skill that can save a life.
 
Public Health Services also say for every minute that goes by that CPR isn't being done, your survival rate decreases 10% and brain damage can occur if you happen to survive without CPR being done.