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Riner Volunteer Rescue Squad prepares for potential flooding

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:24 PM EDT
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RINER, Va. (WDBJ) - With the threat of potential flooding from Isaias strengthening to a Category 1 hurricane before landfall, crews are getting ready in case they need to help with rescues.

At the Riner Volunteer Rescue Squad, swift water rescues are something they train for all year long, because all it takes is one hard downpour for there to be trouble.

“We specifically work cooperatively with all other 10 agencies in the county to make sure that we have adequate resources,” said Chief Logan Underwood.

Underwood said one of their typical problem spots is the camping area at the 105 under I-81. When there’s a threat for severe weather, crews are constantly monitoring gauges to see how fast and high the New River is flowing.

“We like to be proactive and preplan a lot of stuff with our citizens, so we’ll make sure that we put certain things out there; we like to watch and just make sure everyone’s paying attention before it gets to us,” Underwood said.

It only takes six inches of water to lose control of your car in flood waters, so the folks at Riner Rescue want you to turn around, don’t drown.

“Once that swift water hits your vehicle, if you’re in it there’s a good chance you’re going to lose control and we don’t want to see that happen to anybody,” Underwood said, adding nighttime driving is the worst. “You don’t honestly know what’s under it, you don’t honestly know how stable the bridge currently is or if the culver pipe under the roadway is still intact.”

Underwood’s best advice: Stay home if there’s a threat for flooding.

“If you don’t need to be out when it’s raining, you don’t need to be on the roads, just stay home,” he said. “That way it’s safer for everybody.”

Riner Volunteer Rescue Squad also monitors hotspots like Fairview Church Rd., Childress Rd., Indian Valley Rd., Union Valley Rd. and the Pilot Post Office.

Before any storm, the team suggests you stock up on food, water, batteries, flashlights and food for your pets.

There are 17 certified swift water technicians who help to serve the rescue squad.

Although flood warnings have been dropped for the New River Valley this time around, there is still the potential for rain. This is advice folks across all hometowns can keep in mind as the storm makes its way through our region.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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