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South Florida fire official shares survival tips for water emergencies

By Teri Hornstein,


Water survival tips for emergencies 02:29

MIAMI -- In South Florida, we are surrounded by water and a wreck can happen in the blink of an eye.

"Float time for a vehicle when it's gone into the water is from 30 seconds to 120 seconds," said Lt. Pete Sanchez, spokesperson for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. "You don't want to panic. When you panic, your adrenaline goes up, your breathing increases. Your energy decreases. And that can delay you."

There are four things to keep in mind if your car does end up in the water, Lt. Sanchez said:

  1. Get your seatbelt off.
  2. Move your children to the front of the car.
  3. Break or roll your window down.
  4. Get out as soon as you can.

"If these things are done properly, you can actually get out safely with you and your loved ones within 30 seconds," Lt. Sanchez said.

There are also a couple of things not to do: Don't try to open the door -— it could cause the car to flood quickly. Also, don't try to make a phone call.

"Time is precious here and you may waste time trying to get your phone," Lt. Sanchez said.

It is also a good idea to have a center punch to break your window if you can't get it down. It's a good idea to keep this tool handy. In your glove box or center console. You can even tape it to the inside of your car so you know exactly where it is if you ever need it.

"People think that right away, you fall in the water, your car goes in the water and you can't get out, but you actually have time. And if you do it properly, you remain calm and you follow our steps, you'll be able to get yourself out and your loved ones out to safety," Lt. Sanchez said.

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