VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- After years of witnessing firsthand the toll desert heat can take on the body, one local couple decided to do their part to help.
In their spare time, Victorville paramedics Martin and Olga Goldsmith develop and market a line of products to help people stay hydrated and keep their skin cool. The line is called Chill Vests, and it includes more than 70 products designed to prevent heat-related complications.
"I just found a niche that is very, very needed by the general public," Martin Goldsmith said. "Through my work as a paramedic, people call 911 and I can help one person at a time. Now, I can help more people and tackle these issues in groups."
Chill Vests includes three lines of cooling products. The first is the Evaporate Cooling line, where hats, wrist-guards and more are soaked in water and hold moisture for five to 10 hours.
There's also a Phase Change cooling line, including neck bands and hard-hat inserts with ice packs that stay 58 degrees for three hours.
The last is a Tethering line, where cool water is continually circulated throughout vests through a battery-charged system.
Chill Vests also includes cooling camouflage products for the military, body-armor for law enforcement, wheelchair pads and a pad designed for pet cages. There's even a smaller line of products for keeping the body warm the other half of the year.
"Our slogan is: Products to help keep you productive, safe and comfortable all year long," Goldsmith said.
The products are particularly helpful for people with illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, he said, who have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Goldsmith also recommends the products for anyone who works outside during the heat of the day, for women going through menopause and for athletes, including a golf cart cushion to keep the seat cool between shots.
Goldsmith works with a team of people to manufacture the products, which are all made in the United States. He then markets the products through his Web site, www.ChillVests.com, launched a year ago.
The online business is picking up, including sales to the local fire department and a contract with CEMEX cement company.
A regional health and safety manager from CEMEX met with Goldsmith a few months ago, and workers at the Victorville plant are now using Chill Vest bandanas and vests, and they have an order in for hard-hat inserts and for cooling neck shades.
"We've got a challenge in some areas just because of the hot weather but also because our kilns are very hot," said CEMEX spokeswoman Jennifer Borgen. "The products are helping us meet the challenge of staying cool and safe on the job."
Borgen said the local safety manager is so pleased with how the products are performing that CEMEX is looking into expanding the program to other locations.
The Goldsmiths have huge aspirations for the company, planning to add new products and reach a larger audience.
With 16 deaths in Southern California during a heat wave last year, Goldsmith sees an epidemic that is completely preventable.
"We want to let people know we're here to help."