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The Next Best Thing To A Lifeguard | Entrepreneurs | Midweek.com

The Next Best Thing To A Lifeguard

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - September 20, 2006
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David Kahanu and Wes Maxwell install a safety fence around a pool
David Kahanu and Wes Maxwell install a safety fence around a pool

We’ve all heard stories from friends or on the news about a child at the bottom of a pool who had to be rescued. Sometimes there is a good result, and other times a young life is lost. Sympathy from the community goes to the child’s family, which has to go through the gut-wrenching grieving process of losing a precious youngster.

David “Duke” Kahanu Jr., owner of Protect A Child Safety Fence Systems, remembers his own family story which luckily had a happy ending. When Kahanu was in elementary school, his cousin was at the bottom of the pool during a family gathering. Kahanu remembers his uncle jumped in and saved his own son.

With his safety fence company, Kahanu installs a temporary fence which can go around a pool, by a driveway or on the patio to keep children (or pets) out of dangerous areas. A gate, which must be monitored vigilantly, can be opened for easy access to the pool.


The black mesh fencing is 10 times stronger than a screen door, Kahanu says. “And the fiberglass posts of the fence are screwed in three inches deep, so it’s not that easy for the fence to be pushed over.”

The product is manufactured in Florida, and Kahanu has the distribution rights for the Hawaii area. He keeps stock on hand and has installed the fences on Oahu and the Neighbor Islands since he took over the business in 2002. Some states have a law where all pools are required to have a fence like this, but not Hawaii.

Kahanu, a 16-year fire department veteran, continues his job as a fire captain with the Mililani Fire Station near his home.

“It’s a good trust factor when that comes up,” says Kahanu about his fence business. “As firemen, we have that safety mentality.”

Four of the Kamehameha grad-uate’s fellow firefighters help with installations and setup as needed: Wes Maxwell, Todd Cabral, Dave Higa and Brandon Stevens.

Kahanu, who also is a member of the Army National Guard, says that once the fence is set up, customers often find themselves leaving it up longer than they expected.

“If parents get it for their kids, then they leave it up for the grand-kids,” notes Kahanu.


Kahanu finds most of his customers through word of mouth. This November, the company will have a booth at the New Kids Expo at the Blaisdell Arena.

Kahanu credits his wife, Jeni, for her support. The couple take their children, 12-year-old Alexis,10-year-old Brandi, 8-year-old Cameron, and 4-month-old Deuce, to the beach and the pool often.

“I’ve taught all my kids to swim by the time they are 2 years old,” he notes. ” I’ve taught my toddler with my newborn, and I understand parents’ concerns.”

Kahanu says he enjoys getting to know the families, and he finds helping people to be very satisfying.

For more information on Protect A Child Safety Systems, call 753-2844 or log onto www.protectachild.com.

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