First responders remember Hurricane Ike like it was yesterday

May 24, 2013 4:28:15 PM PDT
Just like emergency drills in school, it's important to practice your plan for any emergency situation. This hurricane season is expected to be more active than normal, but we just don't know when and where the storms will track. But we do know one group of folks who will be there to help us before, during and after landfall.

"Hunker down," it's a term coined during Hurricane Ike and now a reminder every hurricane season. Run from water, hide from wind. It's that simple, and simple enough to save your life.

But not all are lucky enough to leave. Some need to stay behind because it's their duty to do so.

We're coming up on the five-year anniversary to Hurricane Ike. And those who put their lives on the line to save those in harms way remember it like it was yesterday.

Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis is always prepared.

"You have to save yourself so you can save other people the next day," Davis said.

Davis is on the front lines of any emergency situation.

Before and during Hurricane Ike, his department performed 360 high-water rescues. After the storm, they did nearly 1,700 minor missions.

However, there are a few experiences Davis will never forget.

"Walking down 16th Street, I was in about chest-deep water and in front of us, a big transformer blew. And I had no idea how far electricity would travel in those kind of conditions through water and I just thought, 'Are we gonna walk through this thing and get electrocuted?'" Davis said. "I really hit me at that minute it wasn't something you could control, the risk to that extent for. You could really die, easily trying to help somebody out."

Members of the Galveston Fire Department recall the feeling of hopelessness during Ike as well.

"We train for the unexpected. We come to work everyday knowing that we're gonna see something we thought we'd never see," assistant fire chief Mike Wisko said.

Wisko says his fire crew couldn't do their jobs for at least four to six hours because of the rapidly rising waters.

"To watch a facility of that magnitude, with that amount of boats and that kind of value to it just burn and there wasn't anything we could do about it, was stressful for us because that's what we do. And now we're telling our guys they couldn't go," Wisko said.

Hurricane Ike is just one of many extreme storms that are part of our local hurricane history. Join the Eyewitness Weather Team Sunday night as we look ahead to the upcoming season. We'll show you how tracking hurricanes is changing and offer some advice on helping kids weather extreme storms.

"Eye On The Gulf: Extreme Storms" airs at 10:35pm Sunday.

Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


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