FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 05,2020

“Turn Around Don’t Drown”

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety is cautioning motorists and pedestrians of the dangers associated with post-storm flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. Weather events associated with heavy downpours can result in swift-flowing streams and areas with poor drainage, which can linger for hours, perhaps days after the rain has abated, presenting a risk even after the center of the storm has passed. 

“The best advice is from the National Weather Service – ‘Turn Around Don’t Drown,’” said New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marsal Richard Mikutsky speaking to the risk motorists take when coming upon water in the roadway after any large downpour. 

“People tend to think the weight of their vehicle will keep them anchored. However, they should know cruise ships weighing nearly 100 thousand tons or more also float,” Mikutsky added. 

According to Mikutsky, more than half of all flood-related drownings occur because of motorists attempting to negotiate floodwaters. Vehicles, like cruise ships, can float because of the same reason, buoyancy. Many times it is up to the state corps of fire-rescue personnel to conduct emergency aid and to evacuate motorists who are unaware of the power of flowing water and threatened by flooding. 

Mikutsky notes the following facts: 

  • Just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups.
  • Just a foot of water will float most other vehicles.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most vehicles causing loss of control and possible stalling.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs. 

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan

(609) 292-6055