AUSTIN (KXAN) — Back in 2010, First Warning Weather’s Jim Spencer demonstrated water survival during a flash flood — by getting into the water with the Austin-Travis County Swift Water Rescue Team for an exercise.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for emergency responders for water rescues and drownings. Jim Spencer learned first-hand on a rainy day on the Guadalupe River about the power of swift water. New Braunfels that day in 2010 had flash flooding in the area — the perfect time and place to learn just how powerful and deadly swift water can be. Under the watchful eye of an Austin-Travis EMS rescue crew, Jim suited up in a waterproof suit, a helmet and a flotation device. With his gear on, he headed down to the water to learn a survival swim — the first step in saving yourself if you fall in swift water.
After a few practice runs, Jim was ready to see what it’s like to be rescued. Rescuers were downstream, and another was ashore and ready to toss him a floating bag attached to a rope — a flood victim’s lifeline.
Ultimately, the best way to keep yourself safe is to avoid swift water altogether.
But if you do find yourself swept into fast-moving water, remember:
- Get on your back.
- Get your feet up and your eyes downstream.
- Angle your body to the current and paddle toward shore.
And if a rescuer is nearby:
- Watch for the throw bag.
- Pull the rope over your shoulder, and hold on.