Severe Thunderstorm & Tornado Warnings
On Saturday Evening, after being alerted to the possibility of a Tornado and Severe Thunderstorms, the call came into SBES to assist our partners in the Flemington Area when they got inundated with requests to rescue folks from cars stuck in rising water.
Flemington-Raritan First Aid & Rescue Squad initially requested our Special Services 365 high-water unit to assist with multiple water entrapped persons on Rt 202/31 in the area of Everitts Road. This was just the first of 12 separate incidents that our department assisted with in Raritan Township, East Amwell Township, Franklin Township and Clinton Township.
Units responding included Water Rescue 365-2 along with Marine 365-3 and an inflatable unit, Utility 365-1 who picked up another boat from Flemington Rescue's station to assist at calls, and the Special Services. Eleven members staffed these units, while an additional 9 personnel continued to staff our primary stations for both EMS & additional Rescue calls.
After clearing the initial calls, the units were staging in the Flemington Borough area along with units from West Amwell Fire, Whitehouse Rescue, Flemington's units and the Hunterdon County Office of Emergency Management.
Units operated not only at the 12 dispatched calls, but multiple other assists along the way as they came upon other units. In total more than 2 dozen drivers who found themselves stuck in flash flood conditions were safely removed from vehicles and brought to drier land.
Our Water Rescue Technicians train locally through several private companies as well as with the Hunterdon County Emergency Services Training Center, usually in the Delaware River, the closest "simulation" that we can produce to these types of conditions.
Two years ago, four rescuers from South Branch Emergency Services travelled to the NY State Preparedness Training Center where they have a full swiftwater rescue simulator for specialized training and preparedness for events like this weekend. Unfortunately, it is one of very few in the Country where First Responders can be trained in a safer & controlled environment, and one that our agency has been a supporter of building for many years.
If you would like information about joining our Water Rescue Team, or becoming an EMT with our agency, please visit www.SBES365.org