DAYTONA BEACH, FLA - Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry said the flooding from Ian was historic. He hopes the city does not experience it again but said the city will be more prepared in the future.
City commissioners approved an emergency purchase of a used, high-water rescue vehicle. Emergency crews will use it for evacuations and also rescues in flooded areas.
Mayor Henry said crews made a significant number of rescues during Ian, but they had to use boats and other vehicles for those rescues. Crews also borrowed a high-water vehicle from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Mayor Henry said if the city had its own high water vehicle at the time, crews would have been able to get to some people faster. He said every minute counts during a life-threatening situation.
"I witnessed a family of nine being rescued. Eight of them were children. Two of them were wrapped as if they were swaddled, so they were infants. One of them was a toddler. One was an adult. I knew at that moment, when I saw that, that we would have to have a vehicle," Mayor Henry said. He said crews rescued the family with a boat.
The high-water vehicle will carry as many as 25 people and can drive through more than 8 feet of water. Mayor Henry said it cost about $55,000 but said there is no price tag on saving lives.
The city expects the vehicle to be delivered in the next few weeks.
Volusia County Sheriff, Mike Chitwood, said his office also has two new high-water vehicles on order.
Mayor Henry said Daytona Beach will also likely need more pumps that can operate on generators for future flooding situations.