With the recent storms that are hitting the majority of the country, I wanted to take a minute to ask everyone to take a little extra caution when confronting moving and flood water.
It is important to remember that just because it doesn't look fast doesn't mean it isn't dangerous. Any moving water, no matter how slow it looks is dangerous and should be treated as such.
Some fundamental reminders; Don't drive into flood or moving water. You have no idea what the conditions of the driving surface are underneath the water. It may be shallow but the power of water can alter and significantly damage the road surface below the water line. In some instances that portion of the road could be washed away completely.
Just like a firefighter or responder would not enter the HOT zone in a hazmat and perform technician level tasks, the same should be true with moving water. There are skills associated with tech level training that others don't have. The last thing we need is a responder not reading water conditions correctly and getting caught up in a strainer situation or worse.
Wear your appropriate PPE. If anyone is within 10-15 feet of the water, personal floatation devices should be worn. And they should be worn without bunker gear. This all comes back to training and skills. Be diligent and take the appropriate precautions.
If you are operating in moving water and units are in boats and in the water, have a back up plan. In the pictures you will see that we were operating in flood water that is moving with the river. We sent crews up stream in boats to retrieve a strander boater. Although we had to wait on the bank, we didn't just sit around.
Put out some throw bags at interval spacing with a few personnel to deploy them. If a boat capsizes or a person falls into the water we will be prepared to deploy the throw bags. Make sure your people on the bank and in the boats are wearing floatation devices.
Think ahead of time and have a back up plan. Use safety equipment and don't operate outside the scope of your training.
Stay safe and like REO says, "Keep riding the storm out!"