Here’s what you should do if you see a car enter water

Picture from water rescue on March 8, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With regard to several recent retention pond water rescues, the Indianapolis Fire Department is sharing information and tips for what to do if you see a car enter the water.

In the past few months, there have been three deadly incidents involving cars entering retention ponds.

Even though each of the previous incidents is believed to be the result of completely different causes, IFD says there are several important common elements.

Water safety awareness is important for all ages. Oftentimes when bystanders see another person in danger in the water, they are faced with the difficult decision as to whether they should enter the water to help. IFD says it is important to not act above your level of training – the “Go Rescue” method is extremely dangerous. Instead, they encourage everyone to “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go.”

  • Reach to victims with a rescue pole, oar, etc. if they are close to the shoreline.
  • Throw ropes or other flotation devices to them if they are conscious and able to grab hold of the item.
  • Don’t go in the water for fear that you may risk your own life by doing so.

Follow the following steps if you see a car entering the water to help provide the best chance at survival.

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Witnesses must stay on scene at their last known location to give first responders accurate information. This will help accurately triangulate the area for divers to enter.  In other words, your physical location is one of 3 visual points that will help narrow the footprint to a more precise location for divers to search.

In the incident on Sunday, rescuers were able to find the victims within minutes because the witnesses stayed on scene.

If you find yourself in a car headed toward water, IFD says take off your seatbelt, and get to the to the highest point in the car. Roll down or break a window (your car should still have power to roll down windows), and try to to exit the vehicle.