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Home » Santa Clarita News » Rains Call For Swift-Water Safety

Rains Call For Swift-Water Safety

Rains could bring hazardous conditions in canyons, recent fire areas.

As rains are scheduled to hit the southland, the Santa
Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station would like to remind all residents of the
dangers associated with swift water and our flood channels.


Unfortunately, every year many people are injured and some even lose their
lives when wandering too close to a waterway that normally is not dangerous,
yet becomes treacherous when large volumes of water containing debris are
forced through during heavy rainfall.  Local swift water rescue teams
throughout Los Angeles County
respond to about 100 river rescue calls per year, some of which result in


Children comprise the highest percentage of victims rescued
by swift water rescue teams.  As a result, we should all talk to our
children about the dangers associated with these rapidly moving waters and the
importance of staying away from rivers and flood channels.


There more than 470 miles of open channels and 2,400 miles
of underground storm drains in Los Angeles
County.  The open channels range
in size from 2 to 600 feet in width, and from 2 to 40 feet in depth.  The
best thing people can do is to stay clear of these areas, but if you do fall
in, follow these safety tips: 

  • Try to remain calm 
  • Do not waste energy yelling for help after someone has
    spotted you
  • Get ready to be rescued by trying to float on your back with
    your legs straight and your feet pointed downstream
  • Use your legs to shove yourself away from obstructions
  • Keep  your head up so that you can see where you are
  • Watch for obstacles and debris
  • Most victims, who do perish in swift water, die when they
    get pinned against obstacles, or get trapped in submerged debris or vegetation
    – try to avoid them 

If you see someone fall into a flood-swollen channel, do not
jump in or try to save the victim.  Immediately call 9-1-1.  Give accurate information regarding
where the victim was last seen, where they fell in, what they were wearing,
etc.  Swift water rescue teams will respond as quickly as possible. 


Swimming skills have nothing to do with surviving in a flood control
channel.  The current is so strong that even highly skilled swimmers can
get swept to their deaths.  If possible, throw any type of flotation
device to the victim.  Swift water areas are very deceptive and are much
more dangerous than they look.  Be aware of the hidden hazards these areas
conceal and keep yourself and your families safe, during times of heavy

Rains Call For Swift-Water Safety

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