Tips from water rescue official could save your life in an emergency

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A dramatic 911 call reveals the terrifying moments after a young woman's car flipped into a ditch New Year’s Day.

As Amanda Antonio’s car rested, upside down and sinking in a water-filled ditch, she couldn’t find a way to escape. She called 911 in hopes deputies would reach her in time.

Antonio was able to find and use her phone to tell dispatchers her exact location since she couldn’t escape.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Capt. Aaron Gross, who educates others on water rescue skills, said it is good practice to be aware of where you are on the road at all times, just in case you find yourself in an emergency.

“You might not know where you're at, especially if you're in an area you're unfamiliar with. But, a good idea as you're going up the interstate, just look at the exits,” said Gross.

Fire rescue said everyone should have a plan for how to escape your car in water, just like you have a fire plan, and go over it in your head.

Gross said to remember three things: seatbelt, roll down or break the window, and get yourself out.

“If you can get the windows down, the car's not going to sink right away. You have like 30 to 60 seconds to get that power window down,” said Capt. Gross.

He also recommends keeping a rescue device in your car that includes a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker. So if you can’t release your seatbelt, you can cut yourself free.

“You extend [the seatbelt] as far as you can. You want to have some pressure on there, and then you're just going to go ahead and [cut],” said Gross.

Then, you use the glass breaker part of the device on the side windows of your car if you can't roll them down.

“So, with a window punch, whether it's a spring loaded punch or they also make emergency hammers, you want to go low and in the corner,” said Gross.