Risks and safety precautions during flooding, time on waterways

BARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- Local lakes and waterways have looked inviting this week while rains this season have caused water levels to rise at times and cause flooding.

The Barren County Rescue Dive Team believes that safety, no matter how you encounter the water, is of utmost importance.

"We've had a very unusual year. We've had a lot more swift water incidences than normal but we've also had a lot of these requests for us that have ended good because the people were okay," said Anita May, a rescue diver with Barren County Rescue Dive Team and Swift Water Rescue Techs.

The local dive team has been called out to five possible drownings this year -- some with happy endings but still others with tragic consequences.

"Most every family member for any of the victims that we've recovered -- they've always said, 'He was such a great swimmer.' So it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter whether you're young or an older person. You're not invincible; none of us are," May said.

That's why it's so important to remember to wear that life jacket, or personal flotation device -- one that fits well -- next time you're planning on a day out on the water both for your child's benefit, and for your own.

"We have never recovered a body that had on a PFD. And it's just a simple thing you can do that ensures your safety," said May.

May says it's also vastly important to be mindful of the mantra -- turn around, don't drown -- in the face of rains and flooding that the season could still have in store for South Central Kentucky.

"We've just had great deal of rain this year...We just had the incident last week where the pickup truck was swept away in Metcalfe County," said May.

Besides those concerns, an increase in kayaking in our area brings its own reminders for those who are looking to get paddling.

"People might think that it's easier than it is or not as serious as it is," said Alyssa Hammonds, a regular kayaker from Bowling Green. "Watch the flags at the parks and know how long it will take from point A to point B."

You should also let someone know your planned run on the water, and avoid staying out late when the sun is down.

But if you do find yourself or someone else in an emergency situation, the team is ready.

"We just want everybody safe, we want these to have good endings," said May.

The dive team has been teaching programs to local children and teens in Barren County, but they're looking to bring them to adults as well.

If you're interested in having the team present to your organization, you can contact Glasgow-Barren County Emergency Management at 270-651-4910.

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