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'Common sense goes a long way' regarding driving through water

A look at the flooding in downtown Roanoke on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Credit: Zachary Morgan
A look at the flooding in downtown Roanoke on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Credit: Zachary Morgan (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Roanoke Fire EMS crews said they were in crisis mode during Wednesday night's storms and flooding. Once the rain stopped, the waters quickly cleared, but not before prompting action from several swift water rescue teams.

In any situation, like Wednesday's flooding, first responders risk their lives to save others who are caught in the water.

"People in general think we are unstoppable," said Roanoke Fire EMS rescue technician Frederick Murray. "The problem is that it is a human error because we think we can handle things we might not necessarily be able to do."

Murray said swift water rescue was called to six emergencies Wednesday night; five of which involved stranded drivers.

"They think their vehicle can go through this water way without any difficulty," commented Capt. Chad Riddleberger, with the Roanoke Fire EMS Swift Water Rescue. "What they don't realize is where is the intakes to their motors it stalls them out particularly if the water's moving. It only takes three to four inches of water to float a vehicle."

Riddleberger said the larger concern is not being able to help everyone with limited manpower and resources. 911 calls are prioritized by who needs immediate help first.

Murray said, "Common sense goes a long way in cases like this."