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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 9:13 am | Fair 48º


Training Turns Real for Search and Rescue Team

Santa Barbara members taking a swiftwater course help a fisherman trapped in a recirculating rapid

Members of Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue completed a 30-hour swiftwater rescue technician course on the Kern River east of Bakersfield last week.

Team members learned various water rescue techniques on how to rescue injured and or trapped individuals in moving water as well as how to recognize and treat water-related injuries. The training proved to timely as team members were requested to rescue and treat a man in the Kern River just a few hundred yards down river from the training.

On Saturday, a fisherman was swept down the current and was trapped in a recirculating hydraulic rapid. Search and rescue members reached the subject just after he was pulled out of the water by another fisherman.

SBCSAR wilderness EMTs began a medical assessment and treatment of the subject, who suffered head, chest, abdomen and leg injuries. Other team members brought in oxygen, a backboard, a stretcher and other medical gear over the rough terrain.

Given the location and distance from the nearest road or trail, SBCSAR coordinated with the Kern County Sheriff’s Aviation Department in hoisting the injured subject out of the canyon utilizing its Air 5 Rescue Helicopter. He was then flown to Kern County Trauma Medical Center in Bakersfield.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

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