Roanoke swift water rescue team on standby during flooding

Crews urging drivers not to drive through floodwaters

ROANOKE, Va. – Heavy rain in Roanoke caused rivers, creeks and streams to overflow, even shutting down roads due to flooding concerns. The Wasena Park Low Water Bridge along Wiley Drive was shut down because the Roanoke River flooded.

Due to the severe weather, the Roanoke City Swift Water Rescue Team is on standby 24/7 to save anybody who may get stranded.

There are about 40 firefighters who make up the team and they’re all trained to help people stranded in the floodwaters, whether they’re stranded in a home or a car.

In anticipation of the storm, the team has spent the past 48 hours preparing.

They split up the rescue boats between two different stations in the city and they have other firefighters ready in case of an emergency. The team also works closely with swift water rescue teams in Salem and Roanoke County. Plus, they monitor weather conditions with help from the Emergency Management Center.

Rescuers say the most important thing for everyone to remember, is to never walk or drive through standing or moving floodwaters.

“If you can’t see the road, if it looks hazardous or you have any concerns around, just turn your car around. It’s not worth driving through and getting us out there,” said Lt. Kyle Inman, a member of the Roanoke City Swift Water Rescue Team. "It’s a pretty big bill and you’re probably going to get a ticket. Not to mention, the risk that you’re going to put us and yourself at.”

Both rushing and standing water are risks. As little as six inches can sweep somebody off their feet and about a foot of water can sweep a car off the road.

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