LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

University Police Sergeant Rescues Two from Floodwaters

LSU Helath Universotu Pocie Sgt. Devon Allen

A member of the LSU Health New Orleans faculty and a passerby were fortunate that Sgt. Devon Allen was working Wednesday, July 10. That was the day that much of New Orleans, including LSU Health New Orleans’ downtown campus, was flooded by more than eight inches of rain.

Heavy rain had been falling for hours when Sgt. Allen got a call that someone was trapped in a flooded car on Gravier Street near South Johnson. And the water was rising fast. As Allen approached the vehicle, a panicked man yelled through the window that he couldn’t swim.

Six foot, seven inch tall Allen made his way to the vehicle through waist-high water. The small car was floating but filling with floodwater through the open window. As Allen carried the man to safety, he got him talking to keep him calm. The man told Allen that he’s an LSU Health doctor.

Allen had no sooner begun drying out when an employee called his attention to another flooded and occupied car. This one was parked on the Poydras side of South Prieur Street at Gravier. The occupant was frantically, but unsuccessfully, trying to open the car door. Allen talked the individual down enough to follow his instructions, and Allen was able to free the person.

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These incidents illustrate the importance of the caution, “Turn around, don’t drown.”

It is never a good idea to drive onto a flooded street.

The National Weather Service reports that almost half of all flash flood fatalities occur in vehicles.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, just six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling. Many vehicles will begin to float in twelve inches of water, and when a vehicle loses contact with the ground, the water’s momentum is transferred to the vehicle. Two feet of moving water is enough to sweep away most vehicles — even SUVs and pickup trucks.

The American Safety Council offers potentially life-saving information about how to survive a flash flood in your car here.
Flooded street on LSU Health New Orleans downtown campus