ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) – You’ve heard the saying so many times.
“Turn around, don’t drown.”
Still, local law enforcement and fire departments have been busy in recent days, as they usually are whenever there is a major rain event with water rescues involving cars traveling on roads flooded.
“People don’t see it or think they can handle it,” Logan-Rogersville Fire Chief Richard Stirts said. “With the growing population in southeast Greene County, we are seeing more and more people taking the plunge. Yesterday alone we performed 10 water rescues between Greene and Christian counties. Along with that we had our normal day of calls which included a few lightning strikes, structure fires and a car accident. So we didn’t get much sleep.
And just so you don’t lose sleep worrying about what to do if you’re driving through floodwaters and get stuck, Stirts has given some tips on what to do if you get stuck. in the rising waters.
“The first thing you need to do is stay with your car,” he said. “The best way to stay alive is to stay in the car if you can so you don’t get carried away. Roll down the window if possible so rescuers can get to you. With power windows, the sooner the better. open them because they can be shorted. If you have the old type of crank that you hardly see anymore, you can wait longer. If the water is rising, you will have to judge the situation. I would say when it get to the bottom of your seat or you’re sitting in the water, that’s when you’re gonna have to figure out how to crawl through the window.You’re gonna be in panic mode, but slow down, grab the steering wheel, put your butt down out the window and get on the roof of the vehicle. If your car starts to sink, you will obviously have to get off the roof, but if you get away from your vehicle, logs or other debris can hit you, knock you out and take you away in the river .
Since most cars have power windows, a loss of power can prevent the window from going down. It is therefore a good idea to carry a device that can break the window from the inside called an emergency window puncher. They are widely available in many different styles.
Logan-Rogersville Deputy Chief Tim Clarkson showed us a model that the water rescue team carries with them. It was bright yellow with a hammer shape on one end and a cutter on the other end.
“It’s one of the window punches and seat belt cutters that glow in the dark,” he explained. “It has a spike on both sides and basically you would swing it like a hammer into the bottom corner of your windshield. And in the event that your seat belt gets stuck, you have the possibility with the belt cutter of this one to cut this belt.
Stirts pointed out that you have to be careful when using the glass puncher to prevent the broken pieces from cutting you.
“If you have sunglasses or glasses, something to protect your face, you just have to walk away from the window and reach out to hit the window to break it,” he said. “It doesn’t take a lot of force for those punches to break him. But shards of glass can cut you.
Also remember that if you are not in immediate danger, the first thing to do is to contact the authorities.
“Pick up your phone, call 9-1-1, give them all the information, and listen to what the dispatcher has to say to you,” Stirts said. “They will walk you through some of these things. Don’t go out in the water until someone is there to help you, even though the water may seem shallow and slow. Just wait for lifeguards to arrive if possible, because once you get out you risk being swept away.
Stirts also said that if you leave your car abandoned in floodwaters, always call 9-1-1 and notify authorities. Rescue teams are usually called to sites where cars are stuck on water-covered roads and spend hours searching for possible victims without knowing that the occupants are already safe.
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