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Episode 232 S6-32

Safely Crossing Floodwater


Special Guest:

The Endless Night Ch 32

James Yeager

Floodwaters can have devastating effects and be a major challenge for evacuation efforts. Traversing them in your vehicle can be very dangerous. Today in The Endless Night adventure Swenson learns this lesson and today during the podcast James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response, teaches us how to do it safely.

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Floodwaters can turn dangerous very quickly! Folks who grow up where flooding is a typical event will understand the geographic threats of their area better than those who have not experienced it before. Be very careful if you don’t know the lay of the land. Within minutes water can ebb and flow. The rain may not even be falling torrentially in your area but upriver may be a different story.

The best vehicle to traverse flood waters is a boat. It would be best if you did not try to drive through running water no matter what. Have alternate routes planned ahead of time. Tires only have a small area about the size of a human palm called a contact patch that holds the vehicle to the road. Once it is compromised the inhabitants of the automobile are in big trouble. Specialized tires still have the same sized contact patch.

Additionally, adding weight to the rear end of a vehicle does improve the odds as far as physics is concerned. The heavier the automobile is the more force it takes to push. However, this additional weight can also add confidence to the driver, making them more likely to put themselves in a dangerous circumstance.

If you do decide to cross running water in your vehicle, even though you never should drive slowly. Driving fast through the water could cause splashing on your engine and mechanical failure. Flooding the air system of a vehicle is terrible for the engine and a snorkel is needed to forge any real depth of water. A slow, tall, heavy vehicle is the best suited for water.

The best preventative measure you can make to your vehicle when driving through the water is to avoid doing it in the first place. Flowing water can hide debris, even if it looks good. An unforeseen ramrod may be headed your way. Protect your family and yourself by staying out.

When driving, windows should always be all the way up or down, never halfway. In this case, you want to keep your windows up. Carry a tool that you can use to break the window if necessary. The ResQme is about the size of a Bic lighter and will break a window and cut a seat belt. Hit the edge of the window, never the center. The center will flex. Hitting the edge will break it. The ResQme is useable by almost anyone and one should be kept in each vehicle and medkit. There is no real muscle power needed to operate it.

Do not try to find a reason why you think it is imperative to cross the water. Do you really need to get through? Water generally recedes quickly. How devastating would it be to wait an extra fifteen minutes to make sure you can go safely across? Don’t exasperate an emergency with a lack of patience.

Four-wheel drive operators do put debris in the water to make it forgeable sometimes but not recommended. Standing water is far less dangerous than running water but make sure to check the depth. Water in your engine will cause it to fail. If it is flowing, do not cross it!


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The Endless Night Ch 32

James Yeager

James Yeager, who owns Tactical Response, was a Law Enforcement Officer with a career spanning Undercover, Patrol, K9 and SWAT assignments. He has also been a Security Contractor in Iraq protecting the Iraqi Election commission before, during and after Iraq's first election. He started Tactical Response in 1996 and, in that time, has trained over 66,000 people in North, Central and South America as well as Europe. 

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