WSAZ Photo - Hillary Hall
UPDATE 1/20/2012@11:00 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Submerged and stranded: It was a scary situation for two teenagers in Tornado, W.Va. Wednesday when their pickup truck got stuck in floodwater.
"Most of the drownings in the United States in relation to floods are people trying to drive through flooded streets or go through flooded streams," said Kanawha County Deputy Emergency Manager C.W. Sigman.
"Turn around, don't drown," is simple advice to avoid what Sigman calls the common mistake of driving through standing water. Both teens in Tornado made it out safely, but officials say they're the lucky ones.
They say attempting to plow through pools of water not only risks your life, but also the lives of first responders who come to help.
"There is a lot of debris, a lot of fences and other obstacles that are hidden by the water," Sigman said. There's a good chance we'll get stuck with something or swept away."
Sigman says water rescues are a dangerous business. Usually they're necessary, but sometimes they're not - he says whenever water rises, first responders get calls from people stuck at home who don't have a real emergency.
"If you're at home and your home is not being swept away, you're a whole lot safer staying there than having us trying to take you through rapid water," he said. "We've had some bad experiences around here trying to evacuate people who were not in immediate danger."
Officials say you should always take note of how rapidly the water is rising around you. If it's rising quickly, they say it should fall just as fast, so you shouldn't have long to wait.
On the other hand, if it's rising slowly it will probably stay there for a while - but you'll have more time to escape before getting stuck.
They say under no circumstances should you attempt to drive through standing water in any type of vehicle.
The truck got stuck on Ferrell Drive, in Tornado. Water rescue teams from the Tornado and Lakewood Fire Departments waded into the water and carried the teens to safety.
No one was injured.
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