A Busy Day of Water Rescues
During the evening of Saturday 17 July, our area was hit by a series of severe thunderstorms that dumped approximately 5" of rain in a very short period of time. The Rescue Squad responded to about 25 requests for service last night between 1800 and midnight. We say "about 25" because at the height of the storm, our units didn't even call in some of the calls that we came across - for instance, the "storm truck" was driving from one incident to another and stopped to pluck people from their cars on several occasions. In order to handle the incidents, the Rescue Squad staffed Special Services 495 (the Storm Truck), Utility 495 with Marine 495, and Heavy Rescue 495. At the height of the storm, our EMT's also staffed three BLS ambulances that not only responded to the rescue calls but also handled the routine medical emergency calls. Our units operated in Flemington Borough, Raritan Township, Readington Township, East Amwell Township, and Delaware Township last night.
Numerous water rescues and evacuations were performed during the flash flooding. Some were minor, and at least one was potentially deadly when a car was swept from the roadway on Everitts Road and carried downstream several hundred yards. Crews also handled a motor vehicle crash with four entrapped on Route 202-31 at Copper Hill Road (Probably the first time that extrication was performed by our crew while wearing swift water rescue gear!) Luckily, the occupants of the car were not injured and were transported back to our station once extricated to await a ride home.
We have posted dozens of times - TURN AROUND - DON'T DROWN! There are all kinds of excuses for why people drive through flooded roadways, but none of them matter if someone gets hurt or killed. Please don't endanger yourself, your family or us by driving into a flood.
Thank you to all of our mutual aid fire, law enforcement, and EMS/Rescue agencies who assisted with the incidents last night, and special thanks to the dispatchers at Hunterdon County 911 who tried their best to organize an overwhelming number of incidents occurring at one time.
(Editor's note: As the incidents and times are pulled from the computer-aided dispatch system this afternoon, we are up to 61 calls and counting for an approximately six-hour window, handled by 24 of our volunteers and staff.)
***Monday 7/19/2021 - NJ.com reporting that Flemington received 6.11 inches of rain in less than three hours!***