Flooding puts strain on some first responders in Franklin County

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MERCERSBURG, FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. - People in Franklin County are dealing with flooding Thursday after recent rainfall. Creeks have overflowed onto roadways keeping first responders busy.

"We have had some flooding, nothing this severe," said Rodney Grenke, Mercersburg Fire Department Assistant Chief. "We've had some roadways shut down but this was our first instance we had to perform water rescues."

The fire department responded to three water rescue calls Thursday morning. These types of calls put a strain on their department because swift water rescue training is a specialty and the department is really not trained or equipped to make these rescues.

"So we kind of do a first-responder response and get people out if we can," said Grenke. "However if we have a situation where the vehicle is in too deep of water we can't go out and get them."

When firefighters on a water rescue call can't get to the person stuck, they are put on standby mode. They then make a call to bring in a specialty team. Normally, that team comes from Washington County, Maryland.

"For us to call in a speciality team, it's at least a half an hour response time," said Grenke. "So if you drive through water and get stuck and we can't reach you, you're going to be waiting at least a half an hour until we can get boat teams in."

Grenke is now reminding people of the simple but easy phrase to remembers, turn around, don't drown.

"Six inches of water can stall a vehicle, one foot of water can make a vehicle float away," said Grenke. "You have no idea when you're coming down a road how deep the water may be, so it's not worth the risk."

Several roads in the Mercersburg area were closed Thursday morning because of flooding but have slowly been reopening as water has been receding.

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