When it comes to flooding, a few minutes can make the difference between safety and danger. El Paso Water is launching its annual "Turn Around Don't Drown" bilingual outreach campaign to raise awareness – but with new emphasis on how quickly things can change in sudden, intense rain storms. The new campaign uses the phrase "Life Changes in a Flash" to grab the attention of drivers and pedestrians.
"It's important to give our customers the information they need to stay safe," said EPWater CEO and President John Balliew. "Vigilance is never ending in terms of flooding. No matter what we build as engineers, there's going to be flooding and it's going to be dangerous."
The campaign includes radio and television PSAs, billboards and digital media outreach to emphasize the following important facts about the power of rushing water.
A grown man can be knocked over by just 6 inches of water.
A moving vehicle can be swept away by just two feet of rushing water.
It can take less than a minute for water to reach your door if your car is stranded in a flooded road.
EPWater is partnering with the El Paso Fire Department, the National Weather Service, the Drowning Prevention Coalition and other organizations to spread the word about the new "Turn Around Don't Drown" campaign. The El Paso Fire Department plays a crucial role in rescue and recovery efforts in the monsoon season. In 2016, four children drowned in El Paso County and 107 children drowned in the state of Texas.
"Unfortunately, every year the El Paso Fire Department has to respond to water rescues and recoveries in flooded streets, arroyos, and canals," El Paso Fire Public Information Officer Carlos Briano said. "These are not safe places."
Many El Paso streets are designed to carry stormwater, and even a few inches of moving water can be dangerous. If you encounter a flooded road, make the choice to "Turn Around Don't Drown." Keep track of family members and children during heavy rain events and teach them to not go near flooded streets, canals, dams and ponding areas. We also encourage you to monitor weather forecasts and flooded street announcements during the monsoon season.
We provide free sandbags to help protect your home or business at locations throughout the city. Pick them up early to avoid long lines when heavy rains start falling. You can find the sandbag pickup locations HERE.