The impact of water rescues on first responders

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Residents across Central Alabama are continuing to clean up after historic flooding hit our region Wednesday night. Now, we’re hearing some of those initial calls from over the scanner that helped get first responders out quickly.

First responders have only minutes when cars get trapped in the water, and it doesn’t take much for the water to quickly overtake your car.

When first responders are sent to the unknown – they’re working on a response plan the whole way there.

“Once we get that call in and that initial description, we immediately go into rescue mode even though we can’t see it, we go ahead and start visualizing our game plan, our rescue plan,” Birmingham Battalion Chief Jackie Hicks said.

Especially as seconds count and the water is filling up, first responders have to stay on their toes.

“I’m trying to get her out of the car because water’s rising,” one of the calls over police radios said.

They’re ready to step into action the moment they arrive.

“Cars keep trying to pass and they’re getting swallowed up in this water,” another police radio call said.

Hicks said it’s always a little bit of a challenge when they arrive on a scene, but they are well trained to respond. Because in the end, they love what they do and care about you.

“I love helping, I love serving people. It’s a great career. I’ve always been one that likes to help others. It’s very gratifying.”

Next time the rain comes back down – Hicks asks that you turn around and don’t drown.

“Just don’t take the risk. It’s not worth the risk of driving through those types of waters or anything like that. It’s really not worth the risk.”

First responders are constantly putting their lives on the line to help everyone out. Any time they go through trauma they have counselors come in to talk them through it – and they have each other to help when those tough memories come back.

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