One year anniversary of floods approaches, fire departments prepare

Laurel County Fire Department adds a water rescue boat to its fleet.

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Its been a wet start to 2022, and for people in southern Kentucky, it’s a sort of a déjà vu, where those areas experienced severe flooding last February.

Firefighters say they’ve taken some new steps to help them be more prepared for disasters, like flooding, and therefore, better equipped to help people. That includes a new water rescue boat, something the Laurel County Fire Department says will be a tremendous help.

“We’ve had an increase of water related calls in this area,” says Deputy Chief Trevor Allen with Laurel Fire. “With the addition of this boat, it makes it a lot safer for our team and the community to be able to utilize it to go out into flooded waters to assist anyone that we need to.”

The fire department says the boat will help emergency crews be able to help people in cases like last year’s severe flooding. Firefighters saw countless drivers attempt to drive through standing water where they became stranded, forcing first responders to rescue people.

“If you stay, you may have a medical emergency or something sort of that. You may think that you can stay there and be fine but anything could happen,” says Allen. “You’re not just putting yourself at risk, but you’re putting the first responders at risk as well because they’re going to come get you, no matter what.”

The department also says it’s a good time to remind people when there are flood warnings to make other arrangements and get out of the flood zone before a storm hits. The Laurel County Fire Department says resources and firefighters can get stretched thin in severe weather, so they want to encourage people to plan ahead and be prepared to stay off flooded roads.

“Calls don’t come in one at a time, usually they’re two or three at a time,” says Allen. “I guess making sure we’re better prepared on that end is the biggest takeaway that we took.”

The department says even if the flooding on a road looks shallow enough to drive through, don’t risk it, just find another route.

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