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Resident Bitten by Rattlesnake in his Garage

Post Date:06/12/2014 2:15 PM

Contact: Captain Patrick Halleran (650) 595-7430

A Belmont resident was bitten by a rattlesnake in the garage of his Ralston Avenue home this morning.  This incident is a reminder that rattlesnakes are not confined to rural areas.

Today, at approx. 9:20AM, Belmont Fire and Police units responded to a home in the 2900 block of Ralston Avenue, on a report that a resident had been bitten by a rattlesnake.  Upon arrival, emergency personnel contacted a 74 year-old man who had been bitten on the hand while reaching for a tool in his garage.  The victim was treated at the scene by Belmont Fire Department Paramedics and transported to an area hospital.  The snake, that was captured by firefighters and dispatched, accompanied the victim to the hospital so that physicians could examine it and administer the proper anti-venom to the victim.

Belmont Public Safety and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind the public, that San Mateo County is home to wildlife, including rattlesnakes.  This is especially important to people living near or visiting open space & watershed areas.  Be aware that startled rattlesnakes may not rattle before striking defensively. There are several safety measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of startling a rattlesnake.

  • Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.
  • When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
  • Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
  • Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.
  • Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
  • Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
  • Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom.
  • Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.

Though uncommon, rattlesnake bites do occur, so have a plan in place for responding to any situation. Carry a portable phone, hike with a companion who can assist in an emergency, and make sure that family or friends know where you are going and when you will be checking in.

The first thing to do if bitten is to stay calm. Generally, the most serious effect of a rattlesnake bite to an adult is local tissue damage which needs to be treated. Children, because they are smaller, are in more danger if they are bitten.  Call 9-1-1 or get to a doctor as soon as possible, but stay calm. If the doctor is more than 30 minutes away, keep the bite below the heart, and then try to get to the doctor as quickly as possible.

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