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KCBX News Update: Carbajal pushes maritime safety, and SB County to roll back mobile vaccine program

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Rep. Carbajal held a meeting in Santa Barbara on Monday with state and federal officials, as well as some family members of the boat fire’s victims, to discuss strengthening maritime safety.

Carbajal holds meeting with state, federal leaders to strengthen maritime safety standards

It’s been more than two years since the Conception boat fire that killed 34 people off the coast of Santa Cruz Island near Santa Barbara.

Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal, a Democrat, introduced legislation in 2019 to address maritime safety standards, called the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act.

The congressman held a meeting in Santa Barbara on Monday with state and federal officials as well as some family members of the boat fire’s victims to discuss strengthening maritime safety.

“Going forward, we must make sure that safety measures are adopted so that no other family must endure this pain," Carbajal said.

Carbajal’s bill would require small vessels to have more fire protection, detection and suppression systems, at least two avenues of escape and protocol for handling flammable items like lithium ion batteries.

There would also be requirements for crew members to undergo marine firefighting training programs.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation in late 2019.

Santa Barbara County will roll back mobile vaccine program

After giving nearly 30,000 people their first, second or booster vaccine dose, Santa Barbara County’s mobile vaccine program will scale down after the end of March.

The county said in a release that the program has been “highly successful” in bringing vaccines to people in their own communities, even in more remote areas of the county.

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said, “With over 360 vaccine clinics hosted in nearly every region of the county, including New Cuyama, the Mobile Vaccine Team has gone above and beyond to provide opportunities for community members to receive the vital protection of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

COVID-19 cases have been trending downwards in the county as they have been in neighboring San Luis Obispo County, but both county’s public health departments are still urging caution.

The mobile program will continue in a limited capacity until at least June.

Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 website is publichealthsbc.org, and SLO County’s is slopublichealth.org.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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