Emergency Responders: “Don’t Take a Chance” With Flood Waters

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Driving becomes dangerous in flooding conditions. Emergency responders say never drive down water covered roads. Ignoring warnings can put drivers and rescue teams in danger.

Crawford County Director of Emergency Management Dennis Gilstrap says the county’s swift water rescue team will gather at the Emergency Operations Center as severe weather rolls in. “They’re checking out their equipment, making sure it’s ready to go and operational,” said Gilstrap.

Rafts and wet suits are ready. Gilstrap says he hopes volunteers do not have to go to work. He said, “If you can’t see how deep the water is, don’t take a chance on going into it.”

Turn around don’t drown is a saying you have probably heard before. Emergency crews suggest drivers listen. “A foot of water can move a vehicle,” said Gilstrap, “Three or four inches of moving water can knock a person off their feet.”

Swift water rescue teams in Fort Smith have gear on trucks ready to go. Fort Smith Fire Chief Mike Richards says they will have four extra people on duty Monday night and Tuesday because of the wet weather.

The Fort Smith Police Department says officers will be on patrol throughout the night. If road crews shut down streets because of flooding, police say find a different route. “If the barricades are up the road is closed,” said Officer Wes Milam, “Do not try to go around the barricades. Find an alternative route.”