First responders gear up for potential flooding

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– On Monday first responders geared up to prepare for potentially more rescues with this week’s predicted storms.

First responders answered 18 water rescue calls in the span of five hours after last Friday’s storms.
“When a big flooding event happens it’s all hands on deck,” said ATCEMS Captain Darren Noak. 

ATCEMS and other first responders had their hands full Friday evening saving dozens of people from rushing flood waters. In one of those rescues, first responders had to deploy Star Flight as the area was just too difficult to get to. No one was taken to the hospital in any of those rescues.

“The majority of the incidents involved cars,” said Noak. 

With even more rain expected this week, Noak said they are preparing and checking equipment for what’s to come. 

“A lot of deaths in this area are from people trying to cross low water crossings driving their vehicles into that and getting swept away,” said Noak. 

Along with ambulances designated for rescuing, they also have several rescue boats on standby. In total they have five boats and dozens of people on staff at any given time who are trained to perform these rescues and they also have plenty of equipment to help those trapped in the water.

According to Noak if drivers do come across rushing water on a road, they should not risk it and find another way. 

“Turn around, don’t drown, because it’s a very dangerous situation to get yourself into,” said Noak. “It’s relentless, it’s powerful, and it’s very dangerous.”

While most of the rescues were with cars last Friday, Noak said the phrase “Turn around don’t drown” also applies to people just out walking. 

“Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep a grown adult off their feet,” said Noak. “12 inches of swift moving water can carry away most standard vehicles.”

While it’s the calm before the storm, Noak said it’s better to prepare now than wait until it’s too late.