Local swift water rescue teams prepared to help during potential bad weather

- As a precaution, fire departments around the D.C. region are standby to help out in the event of bad weather on Friday and the weekend – and that could mean some swift water rescues.

Prince George's County has three different water rescue stations, including Station 806 in Springdale. In all, there about a dozen different boats that can be used for water rescues.

Duffle bags are packed with dry suits, helmets and vests as these swift water rescue teams are prepared and ready to help someone in trouble.

“We know there is going to be flash flooding, and flash flooding occurs very quickly, rapidly, and normally just overcomes an intersection or a low-lying parking lot area where people, if they are in those intersections or in those parking lots, could get overwhelmed,” said Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesperson Mark Brady.

That is when the swift water rescue team steps in.

“This type of boat here -- the inflatable rescue boat -- is going to be the best used device we have over the next weekend,” said Brady. “It has rapid deployment. It can be deployed in the water very quickly and get people out of a bad situation.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect throughout the D.C. area starting Friday morning until Saturday evening.

Rescue crews say the best advice is to avoid standing water if you see it.

“Don't go out in your car or walk because you don't really know what's going to happen,” said Rita Delaroca, a firefighter and swift water rescue team member.

But in the event of an emergency, Prince George’s County Fire and EMS is ready.

“Depending on the type of rain we get and the areas that the most rain occurs, we typically will go on anywhere between 12 to 24 different rescues on a 24-hour shift,” Brady said.

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS isn’t the only department preparing for Friday’s expected storm. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue has three extra rescue boats on hand as well.

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