Flooded car

By now you’ve likely heard of 911 Dispatcher Donna Reneau of the Fort Smith Police Department, who handled a call from 47-year-old Debra Stevens, whose car got swept away in a flash flood. Debra’s car was already filling up with water, when she managed to get through to Reneau. Reneau had given notice, two weeks earlier, and this was her final shift.

It proved impossible to get help to Stevens in time to save her. Her final words were recorded as are all 911 calls. It’s difficult to listen to the call because Reneau lost patience with Stevens, telling her to shut up, and blaming her for getting into trouble. Callous remarks don’t break any laws, so there is nothing to do about what happened, except to note how not to behave to our fellow man in a time of crisis.

On the other hand, everyone should be prepared and know what to do when trapped in a car that is rapidly filling with water. The main takeaway? Don’t open the door. Instead, break the side window. Then escape through that side window, and swim like hell.

Everyone should have on hand, a tool to help with breaking the window, in their glove compartment. The Lifehammer isn’t expensive, at under $15. This tool has a hardened steel tip for breaking windows.

The T3 Tactical Auto Rescue Tool is more expensive, at $40, because it has a spring-loaded steel tip window punch. You just push a button and it can break even the most strongly-tempered window. The T3 also has an LED light and a fancy sheath. So it’s a little more expensive. But what’s 40 bucks in exchange for your life? Note that both tools have cutters for cutting through your seat belt, if you can’t unbuckle the belt.

Seems like a worthwhile investment to us.



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