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Rescuers prepare for rising waters - abc27 WHTM

Rescuers prepare for rising waters

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) -

When the forecast calls for heavy rains, John Heberlig calls on his crews.

"We gather as a group, go over all of our boats, make sure they got air in them," said Heberlig, Chief of Carlisle Fire and Rescue and Services.

The boats they use are equipped to hold from two to five people and can be propelled either by row or motor.

"The biggest things with these boats is that they are lightweight. We can pick them up and carry them. We don't need a boat dock," he said.

Their dry suits also work to protect the skin from contaminates and debris that can be hiding in rising waters.

"As long as you have the zippers the whole way up, and as long as there are no rips in the rubber gasket area, you will stay dry," he said, flexing the waterproof seals on the jacket.

When water is fast moving, crews have to be too, so often they'll get dressed in the back of the truck on their way so that they don't waste any time.

Potato Road in Carlisle is an area of the Conodoguinet Creek where home rescues are common, but the biggest danger for rescuers are the "risk takers."

"If it is only four or five feet of water and they are on a road, they are not going to go under. So, the best thing to do try and stay in the vehicle," said Heberlig.

The chief adds that such attempts by drivers can put multiple people in unnecessary danger. A violation that does not often go unpunished.

"I wish a lot more people got cited because it opens more eyeballs up and more people wouldn't do it," he said.

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