As heavy rains have hit Texas, residents have been reminded of the dangers of flash floods, giant hail and severe thunderstorms as well as power outages.
The city of Mission, Texas, began warning residents to expect flooding and heavy rain, but the Mission Fire Department was ready for the inevitable calls that would come in.
As rain pelted the area after midnight and into the early morning hours Tuesday, first responders started getting calls for help.
“We had to deploy one of our high-profile vehicles with our personnel to go and evacuate some citizens who were requesting to be evacuated from the residence due to the rising water, and then we also had experience with some vehicles that had driven into high water, and those people needed to be rescued from the vehicles,” Mission Assistant Fire Chief Robert Alvarez said, according to ValleyCentral.
“It’s always harder when it’s at night, and last night it happened overnight, as everyone knows, and so the element of not being able to see everything and then the heavy rain and the wind just makes it very difficult for our rescuers.”
In all, fire crews rescued at least eight people. Alvarez credited those successful rescues to their annual “Flood Awareness Class” and the training their staff does.
“It’s going to allow our personnel to know what equipment they should use if they need to use some of the specialized equipment, such as a rope bag, and have experience in operating around floodwaters,” he said.
Not only did the Mission Fire Department help those residents stranded in rising water Tuesday morning, but one of the department’s training sessions came later Tuesday.
“Perfect timing,” the city of Mission’s Facebook page shared. “Our Mission firefighters participated in flood awareness training today. They’re preparing for hurricane season.”
While these courageous first responders keep their skills sharp and are ready to help people at a moment’s notice, it’s always best for people to exercise caution and keep themselves out of risky situations in the first place.
Alvarez had advice regarding that decision-making after Tuesday’s work.
“It’s very important that, if possible, they remain off the roadways,” he said, according to ValleyCentral. “I know sometimes you just have to go out or you are already on the road when a storm comes through, but it is important to try and stay off the roadways, and if you do see high water, do not drive through it.”
The city of Mission’s Facebook page also issued a warning, urging locals to avoid even seemingly shallow areas of water.
“Hey, #Mission — Did you know? Driving through 6 inches of standing water can cause vehicles to lose control & stall,” the post read.
“Even a small amount of floodwater can hide dangers such as road collapse & debris.”