Southern California lifeguards, Orange County agencies team up for emergency drill

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Southern California lifeguards teamed up with several agencies for an emergency response drill to demonstrate how they work together to rescue drowning victims. (KABC)

Southern California lifeguards teamed up with several agencies for an emergency response drill to demonstrate how they work together to rescue drowning victims.

The number of water rescues during sunny weekends and holidays can reach the hundreds. Southern California lifeguards teamed up with several agencies for an emergency response drill to show how they work together to rescue drowning victims.

Members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol, the Orange County Fire Authority and the Seal Beach Marine Safety Department all teamed up for the drill.

During the mock scenario, a man struggled to stay afloat near the Seal Beach Pier. Harbor Patrol boats came speeding to the area as a lifeguard on a jet ski drove out from the shore.

A lifeguard jumped from the pier to assist. The man was pulled out of the water and taken to paramedics waiting on the beach.

The rescue was to show all the resources available during a drowning situation.

"Responses are faster, people stay safer and you have less injuries out on the water," said Sgt. John Hollenbeck from OCSD's Harbor Patrol.

The training is also important because it gives the agencies a chance to practice working together, ensuring the safety of not only the victims, but the emergency crews involved.

"It's very important that we learn how to work and coordinate together to make sure that everyone stays safe on an operation like this," said Hollenbeck said.

The training is timely after big crowds combined with big surf and rip currents along the coast made for a busy weekend at Southern California beaches.

State lifeguards report making more than 1,200 rescues on Saturday and Sunday.

"This year alone, we've already had 14 drowning calls at Orange County beaches. Five of those have been fatal. We want to reduce that," said Capt. Steve Concialdi from the Orange County Fire Authority.

While the mock drowning showed how quickly these emergency crews can respond together, these agencies hope beachgoers will take precautions to avoid situations like this.

"It's great to show the public what we can do, but we just want to remind people to be safe when they use the water, especially over this holiday weekend," said Chief Joe Bailey with the Seal Beach Marine Safety Department, which is increasing its staffing levels in preparation for the Labor Day weekend.

Related Topics:
rescueemergency drilldrowningbeachesswimmingSeal BeachOrange County
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