Forrest County EMA addresses river rescues

Forrest County EMA addresses river rescues
Photo credit: Forrest County EMA

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Over the weekend, emergency officials responded to two more water rescue missions in Forrest County.

"There have been four people drown so far in Forrest County this year in a natural waterway," Forrest County EMA Director Glen Moore said.  "We've had rescues on the Leaf River, the Bouie River and the Black Creek, which is a lot more than what we've seen in years past."

Moore added the constant call out for emergency responders can deplete resources and sends emergency crews out for sometimes hours on end.

On Saturday, emergency crews rescued boaters that got stuck on a low part of the river.

On Sunday, three people, who were floating down the river on inflatable rafts, got caught in a thunderstorm and had to be rescued around 10 p.m.

"It's really not necessary if people would just use common sense before they start taking these trips," Moore said. "We probably had 30 or 40 responders including Rescue 7 tied up, making a rescue that really wasn't necessary if they would have planned a little before they made the trip, that's a rescue you wouldn't have had to go out on."

Night rescues on rivers add dangers to first responders, according to Moore.

"That's just a long time to travel in a boat at night, at dark for a rescue, when the rivers low you got a lot of hazards they have to deal with from snags to logs to sandbars," Moore said.

More times than not, Moore said people that have to be rescued do not even have life jackets, which could also save a life.

"Have life vests, almost every time whenever we do these rescues, nobody has a life vest available and that should be one of the first things you take on your float or boat trip," Moore said.

Planning out one's day trip and having a plan of how long it will be is also a helpful plan for a day on the water.

"The main thing is, know how long it's going to take to do the float that you are planning on, if you are floating from Eastabuchie to Petal, anticipate 8 to 10 hours, if you are on the Black Creek and your floating from Brooklyn to Janice, know how long that float is going to take before you ever get on the waterway," Moore said.

Another tip Moore offered is taking a Smartphone in a waterproof case, which can allow you to share your location with an emergency responder when something happens.

"Always remember the more information you can provide when you call 911 in one of these emergencies is always more helpful," Moore said. "Do everything you can to be off the water at dark, rivers are always changing and always dangerous, nighttime on a river is no place to be stranded looking for a rescue."