Washington Co. Puts Swift Water Rescue Crews on Standby


Dozens of county officials and employees are on standby in Washington County, as severe weather rolls into the area.

“We’ve got folks that will monitor radar, then we’ll be on chat with the National Weather Service and then we’ll have our storm spotters in the field as well,” said John Luther, director of the Department of Emergency Management for Washington County.

The county has the free emergency alert system Code Red.

“If it doesn’t call them they are probably not in the area where the storm is going so if they do see a call, it will show up as Code Red on the phone but take it very serious,” Luther said.

Luther said communication is key and his staff is on call.

“We’re also working with our law enforcement, EMS and firefighting community to get information from them as to what the conditions are and what they are seeing and they report to us that info as well,” Luther said.

Emergency management has swift water rescue teams throughout the county.

The Fayetteville Fire department has two rescue boats. Battalion chief Mauro Campos said they’re keeping an eye on areas prone to flooding and say the boats can’t always be used.

“Maybe about 12 inches and that’s just not deep enough for the boat,” Campos said. “But there are flooding areas such as West End, areas around Porter Road and MLK.”

Campos said they are being proactive and have firefighters on standby.

“They are already informed they can be here at location at Station 1, Station 6, Station 3 and Station 4. So everyone knows where to go and where they are assigned,” Campos said.

The Fayetteville Chief of Staff Dawn Marr said the city doesn’t have tornado sirens. Marr said the only one is on the University of Arkansas property.

“That’s why it’s important for people to monitor the weather and sign up for the city’s emergency text notification,” Marr said.

Marr also said the city doesn’t have shelter people can use before the storm. He said they will communicate with the Red Cross in case shelter need to be open after the storm.

“People should stay alert, follow instructions and pay attention to local media,” Marr said.

Click here for a link to the city’s emergency text alert system.

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