Swift floodwaters claimed seven lives in Nash County after Hurricane Floyd, and dozens more elsewhere. As a result, officials came to a hard realization.
"We found out during Floyd that Nash County was not prepared to handle swift water," says EMS director Brian Brantley.
In response, emergency crews are training hard for next time. Two new water vehicles are part of the rescue team at Coopers' fire department.
"If we can't get there to help someone, then we're not benefiting us or them," says fire chief Chris Joyner. "That's the main reason why we're training as hard as we are to try to get to where we're safer and can help look after the people we're going to help."
Crews in Nash County are starting an intensive swiftwater training regimen. State crews are also learning more. State troopers, the Division of Motor Vehicles and the DOT will soon be trained on swift water danger. They will also keep life jackets nearby.
"In the case that they are first on the scene to an incident or they're at a road block and someone drives through, they'll have the equipment and the knowledge to rescue them without themselves becoming a victim," says assistant EMS director Mike Guzo.
Officials say the most effective way to prevent swift water deaths is not to drive through it. Of the seven people killed in Nash County during Hurricane Floyd, all seven were vehicle-related.
In many cases, grant money and private donations are paying for the new equipment.
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