Seconds to Survive: What Could Happen If You Drive Through Flooded Roadways
Written by Lindsey Watson
Last updated on August 04, 2014 @ 6:12PM
Created on August 04, 2014 @ 6:12PM
Very rarely do 911 dispatchers get to see the what happens after an emergency call comes in. Especially when the caller on the other end may only have may only have seconds to get out of a dangerous situation.
Seconds, that’s how long you may have if your drive through a flooded roadway, and your car starts to take on water.
Still, some try to brave flood waters and drive through them, and in that moment quick response, and quick thinking could be the difference between life and death. But in that moment, many of us are doing the wrong thing by rolling up the window, hoping for an air bubble or calling 911 if the car starts to sink.
"If your car is filling up with water the best thing you can do is roll the window down and let the water come in because if you don't do that it can sometimes build up water on the inside, and you won't be able to open the doors with the pressure pushing in," said Lt. Dave Perkins with the Fairmont Fire Department.
That means you have under a minute to get out, when crucial seconds are ticking away, and speed is the key to saving your life.
"It's better to be safe than sorry. All you have to do is take a couple seconds and go somewhere else, take another detour. But don't go through the water, because you never know what's under there, it could be washed completely away," said Captain Sabrina Haught, with the Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
As your car continues to submerge, the simple task of opening the door, or even rolling down the windows could be impossible.
"If you have an object you can use to break the window, like your key. You can use your key. It might be dangerous, but if that's all you have in a situation like that you can take and hit your window and it'll crack. But if there's enough pressure it's going to push it in on you," said Lt. Perkins.
"It's good to have a spring loaded window punch, although they are mostly designed for first responders. But it's a lot safer to use, all you do is draw back, release, and all of the mass drives into the window. So, you don't have to shove your hand through the window, all you have to do is use the spring, and the weight to do all the work for you," said Ben Tacy, Firefighter with the Fairmont Fire Department.
All of this as time continues to tick away.
"Find an alternative route, just don't drive through it," said Lt.Perkins.
"We don't want to lose anyone due to just being impatient, and not waiting to go around another way," said Captain Sabrina Haught.
According to the recent data as many as 400 people drown every year from being stuck in their vehicle on a flooded roadway.
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