**For Immediate Release**
Re: RCFD Public Service Announcement- Rapid Creek Safety
From: Lt. Jim Bussell- Rapid City Fire Department
Date: 05/21/2019 12:30 pm MDT
RCFD Stresses Caution Near Rapid Creek, Moving Water
Danger will persist even after rain stops
Rapid City, S.D. – Plentiful moisture coupled with saturated ground have increased Rapid Creek flows to over 450 cubic feet per second at Founders Park as of 11:00 am today. Rapid Creek has been observed to be running bank full in most areas in and around Rapid City as of this morning. The rapidly moving water and wet, slippery and potentially unstable banks pose risk to anyone near the creek edge. The Rapid City Fire Department is asking the community to exercise extreme caution around Rapid Creek and any moving body of water in the area, for the foreseeable future.
Six inches of moving water is enough to sweep a person off of their feet while only one foot of moving water will float many vehicles. At present, most areas of Rapid Creek are at least 4 feet deep and running over 300 cubic feet per second. In Rapid Creek, much of the danger is related to trees, debris and unseen hazards located under the water. These hazards are known as “strainers”. Strainers are items that water can flow through, but that a swimmer or boat (canoe, kayak, etc.) cannot. These obstacles have the potential to catch an unsuspecting victim. Entrapment in a strainer is a life-threatening emergency.
Because of wet, slippery and potentially unstable stream, creek and river banks, it is strongly encouraged that individuals avoid activity around moving water until water levels subside and stream flows moderate. If you choose to be around these bodies of water, remember the following items:
-Know your limitations. If you do not have experience in the swift-water environment, it is best to stay away.
-If swept away in high flow water, DO NOT put your feet down. Foot entrapment's are a real possibility. Keep your feet up and point them downstream in the direction of the nearest shoreline or in the direction of safety and attempt to self-rescue. Always go over obstacles. Do not try to go under them.
-Use flotation. A life jacket may save your life.
-Watch out for children, water is a natural attractant. Keep them very close to you when near flooded or high-water areas. Teach them about the dangers of moving water and remind them to stay away.
-Don’t drive thru flooded roadways. Turn around, don’t drown. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at the information provided above.