With ditches full of water at this time of year, knowing how to 'self rescue' is a priorityFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With frost out of the ground, and recent heavy rains, it is still a mess out there in our fields and ditches.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With frost out of the ground, and recent heavy rains, it is still a mess out there in our fields and ditches.
But those ditches are also full of water.
One drive in rural Clay County and you realize our heavy rains have turned our dry, empty ditches from a week ago, into water filled pools.
Self-rescue is probably your number one priority.
The Minnesota State Patrol has file of photos from recent rescues after cars rolled or slid into ditches. All it takes is high speed on wet roads, drinking impairment or distracted driving, before you find yourself in the water.
Keeping your wits about yourself, that is hard.
Pete Fendt, a veteran diver with Valley Water and Rescue, has been on his share of calls to cars overturned in water filled ditches.
Pete Fendt/Valley Water and Rescue: “It is that intense where all of a sudden you are sitting in a car that is flooding and you have to decide what to do.”
And you may need to remain calm in order to get out of your car. And know there are steps to take with your windows and doors while trying to get out on your own.
Fendt: “You escape through the window, with direct current, all the electronics will work, the windows, and once the pressure is equalized you can open the door.”
Once your car is in the water, there are so many unknowns, water temperature and the risk of hypothermia.
Fendt: “As it is you have a minute to minute and a half to self-rescue yourself.”
Minnesota Trooper Jesse Grabow knows first hand the dangers of cars in water. In 2012, he resuced a woman who lost control of her car and ended up in the water.
Sgt. Jesse Grabow/Minnesota State Patrol: “Happened to be at the right place to help them out.”
He carries a punch for work and and leisure, to be used on windows just in case.
Grabow: “What surprised me is even though submerged., how buoyant it was and it took a while before sinking and we did provide the rescue think the main thing is keep calm don't panic.”
Complicating matters even more, dangerous culverts that can suck victims and divers away from the car.
Each year, 11,000 cars go into water filled ditches, taking 300-lives.