Revamped ‘Turn Around Don’t Drown’ campaign could save more lives

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The “Turn Around Don’t Drown” campaign has been around for years. But every year, flooding claims more lives than any other thunderstorm hazard.

Over half of those deaths happen when people try to drive through a flooded road.

Beaufort County Emergency Management director John Pack sees it all too often.

“People just get their mind set that they’re gonna get home and they’ve done this before so they can get away with it again. That’s no guarantee when it comes to water, especially water where you cannot see the road,” said Pack.

Just 12 inches of fast-moving water is enough to sweep away a small car and two feet is enough to sweep away most vehicles.

“We always use the rule of thumb, if you can’t see the roadway, \you don’t need to be driving through that water,” explained Robbie Rose, fire chief of City of Washington Fire Rescue EMS.

It’s a rule of thumb some either don’t remember or simply don’t follow. Pack thinks education and constant reminders could be the key to avoiding tragedy.

“I learned a long time ago that if the 8-year-old is hollering, ‘Dad, don’t go through that water, they taught us in school, turn around don’t drown,’ dad won’t go through the water,” said Pack, who praised DOT crews for their quick response in shutting down roads during high water events. “We need to remind people, at the end of whatever is being said, turn around, don’t drown. It will save some lives because people will listen.”

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