Saving people from harm’s way is laudable but costly
■ By Calvin Porter / Contributed
Local news sources reported on the numerous rescue operations of people that took place recently in Riverside County resulting from copious rainfall on Valentine’s Day, more than 4 inches in Hemet/Valle Vista and more than 9 inches in San Jacinto on February 14.
Most of us are aware of our topography – the arrangement of the natural and artificial physical features of an area – and most probably aware also of our area’s performance when it rains. Certain parts of our roads are prone to flooding even with a small amount of rain. When it rains extensively, like it did a few days ago, a simple thought will lead you to a logical conclusion – things are flooding!
According to The Valley Chronicle, “up to 30 people were caught in rivers and flooded roadways throughout Riverside County. The majority sustained few if any injuries. Numerous firefighters from five different engine companies, a paramedic squad, and a swift-water rescue team worked around the clock assisting victims on Feb. 14.”
In the same article we are told that several people became trapped on an island near Soboba Springs Country Club golf course in San Jacinto requiring that Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department hoist the three victims off the island via airlift and administer paramedic care at the scene.
Another set of victims was stranded in rushing water that was several feet deep on Ramona Boulevard, climbing onto a truck for safety until they were rescued by a swift-water rescue team in a large raft. Fortunately none of these individuals sustained injuries or required additional medical attention.
Sadly, however, according to Corona Fire Capt. Ryan Rolston, a woman in Corona was later found unconscious after being pulled from storm waters near the 91 freeway, and taken to the hospital where she later died. The cause of death has not yet been determined. A man was found dead in a riverbed near Aguanga, and an autopsy is scheduled to see if he drowned.
Most of us are concerned about the cost to taxpayers for all of these extraordinary services performed by our public safety departments that in many cases would be unnecessary if we citizens acted more responsibly. Needless to say, the cost in human lives is immeasurable.
More rain is forecast for this coming weekend, and the earth’s ability to absorb moisture after the past rainfall is minimal. We can assume, therefore, that more flooding is on the way.
Let’s keep off the roads, especially those that are prone to flooding, stock up, and keep close to home for our own safety and that of our loved ones.