LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala.- It was a deadly holiday week on Alabama’s waterways. There were several search and rescue operations across North and Central Alabama.
Advice that is usually ignored is what Limestone County Rescue Squad’s Michael Hardy says can make all the difference in the event of a water emergency.
“First and foremost, life jackets. They do save lives, they have saved lives, they will save lives,” says Michael Hardy.
Hardy says he realizes that life vests can be hot and uncomfortable this time of year but they really do save lives.
“They are uncomfortable at times and in this hot, humid weather we’ve been having for the past 10 days they’re unbearable but had this young man this last week had a life jacket on things would have been different,” says Hardy.
Hardy has 53 years of experience in being a first responder and was there when his team recovered Michael Rynders from the elk river on Friday.
“We don’t want another recovery effort, we would rather run out there and say hey we got this person out of the water he’s fine,” says Hardy.
Hardy believes carelessness is the number one factor in water tragedies.
“Accidents will happen, accidents do happen. Carelessness… There is no room for carelessness on the water at all. It’s unlike driving a motor vehicle on the highway, you’ve got breaks, a boat does not,” says Hardy.
He wants people to think before speeding, driving under the influence, and not wearing their life jackets.
“Think about your family, what happens if you don’t go home?” says Hardy.
Hardy says the rescue squad grieves for families in these tragedies.