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Prattville team answers overnight call to help with Shelby County flooding

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - The flash flooding in Shelby County Wednesday night caused enough alarm that first responders reached out for help, and one of the first calls they made went to Prattville. The call came in at 1:30 Thursday morning.

“Sure, we’re always nervous. Even as a 20-year veteran,” said Prattville Fire Department Asst. Chief Ricky Roberts.

It was all on Roberts to gather up personnel, grab their gear and head north to Shelby County. There was lots to think about considering there are so many unknowns in this kind of emergency.

PFD's Swift Water Rescue Team got the call to head Shelby Count early Thursday morning.
PFD's Swift Water Rescue Team got the call to head Shelby Count early Thursday morning.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

“There was a grave concern that if they’ve got even more rain in the next hour or so, they weren’t going to be able to handle it. On the floor of the boat, we have two inflatable rafts, we have spotlights,” said Roberts.

Roberts says because of the equipment they have, the Prattville Fire Department is considered one of the leading swift water rescue teams in the state. In fact, there’s enough equipment in the trailer to outfit 18 rescuers. A total of eight made the trip to Pelham.

Along with the eight technicians and the rescue trailer, the Prattville Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team also hauled up three boats; three four-wheelers and the command vehicle.

PFD's Swift Water Rescue Team got the call to head Shelby Count early Thursday morning.
PFD's Swift Water Rescue Team got the call to head Shelby Count early Thursday morning.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

With lights flashing and sirens blaring, the team moved quickly up Interstate 65 through the darkness, all while the weather was causing major issues in terms of flash flooding, a nightmare that’s caused at least two deaths.

“A lot of people think we just watch hurricanes. No, we watch for flash floodings, any, especially in our home area,” Roberts said.

“We were on the scene, from the time we received the call, we were at the Shelby County EMA office in one hour and 48 minutes,” added Roberts.

In the end, Roberts and his team of eight weren’t needed after all because the weather by that point had calmed down. They now prepare for the next emergency, for it will surely come at a moment’s notice.

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