Swift water rescue teams say every situation is different, but if your car stalls out on a flooded road there are some things you can do to stay safe.
Fort Smith firefighters prepared for swift water rescues Monday afternoon. “In the dark you can't tell how deep the water is or how fast it's moving, so it can be life threatening at any time,” said Firefighter David Sutter.
Emergency responders urge drivers to avoid water on the road. It does not take much to get stuck. “A foot of water can move a vehicle,” said Crawford County Emergency Management Director Dennis Gilstrap, “Three or four inches of moving water can knock a person off their feet.”
If the vehicle stalls, firefighters say put it in reverse and try to drive out. “You may not get all the way out, but you may decrease the depth and you might actually be able to simply get out and walk out of the water,” said Sutter.
If you cannot get out, first responders say immediately roll down the windows. That allows you to get out and rescue crews to get in. “If you feel that your life is truly being threatened by the amount of water, I would recommend if the windows were down to attempt to climb onto the top of the car,” said Sutter.
Swift water teams have their tools ready. “We ask that you don’t get out of your vehicle if the water’s moving,” said Sutter.
Dial 911 if you can, flag down a rescue crew, or avoid the situation all together. Do not attempt to drive through water on the road.
Fort Smith Fire Chief Mike Richards say they have four extra people on duty Monday night and Tuesday because of the flooding threat.