Morgan County water rescuer demonstrates how to get out of a flooded car

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - On Sunday, one woman died and several others had to be rescued when a Lauderdale County creek overflowed and swept away three cars. With more rain on the way, the potential for more flooding increases. Experts spoke to WHNT News 19 on the best way to keep your family safe when floodwaters rise.

Justin Powell is a swift water rescuer with the Morgan County Rescue Squad. He said the moment your car starts to head into floodwaters, "seat belts off." He said to immediately roll down the windows. Some back windows don't roll down all the way, so anyone sitting in the backseat needs to crawl and exit out the front windows.

Powell said you only have 30 to 60 seconds to get out of the car.

"A lot of people don't realize how deep the water is or that it just takes a few inches of water for your car to start moving and for you to lose control," said Powell.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most common deaths due to flooding happen when cars get swept away.

"The deeper the car gets, the pressure builds up on the doors and you will not get them open," said Morgan County Rescue Squad Assistant Chief Jim Richason.

But prevention is possible.

"Don't drive through the water. It's plain and simple," said Richason. " If you have kids in the backseat, get the kids first. Get them out and then you get out."

But if you're caught by flooding, "it never hurts to have a plan in place for something like that, especially with the rain we're about to get," said Powell.

Another good way to stay prepared is to download WHNT News 19's free Live Alert 19 app to your phone. It will alert you to any flood warnings in your area. You can get faster warnings and customize alerts for wherever you are.

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