MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — The Marin County Fire Department has crews traveling across the state to help rescue people trapped in high flood waters.
There is a crew down in Tulare County. KRON4 caught up with the battalion chief in between rescues to learn more about their efforts statewide.
Roads in Monterey County can be seen looking more like a river with cars floating. Californians who live in these areas have already been devastated by recent storms and are now faced with even more rain on the way.
Graham Groneman is a battalion chief with Marin County fire and a part of a 16-person water rescue team. For almost two weeks, this team has been traveling across the state rescuing people stuck on flooded roads and people trapped in their homes.
“Really assisting people out of their cars when they drive through standing water, which is one of the most dangerous things we do out there,” Groneman said.
The group started in Medicino County and made its way down to Monterey County.
Now, they are in Tulare County.
“Quite a bit of activity. We see the Central Valley inundated with water. We are going from a drought to excessive water,” Groneman said. “Sign of the times when we have these strange weather events. What we are seeing down here is a significant regional impact.”
California has a mutual aid system, which allows counties to help one another out during wildfires and flooding.
“The state mutual aid system is second to none,” Groneman said. “We can move resources from the northern part to Southern California in the blink of an eye. That’s what we are doing here.”
On slower rescue days, Groneman says they go door to door to talk with people who live in flood-prone areas.
“Trying to educate the public who could be at risk as this event continues to unfold. Try to be forward-leaning with the prevention with folks — not getting in a bad situation,” he said.
You’ve more than likely heard the saying “turn around, don’t drown.” Groneman says not following that advice can cost you your life during a flooding event.
“It is extremely important. Just a foot of water can move a car off the road and trap you. If you see flooded roadways, turn around,” Groneman said.
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Groneman hopes will stick with you if faced with a road that is flooding. The California Department of Emergency Services has 13 swift water rescue teams located across the state ready to assist people who end up needing rescuing.