Press-Republican

FYI...

July 27, 2013

How to escape a car underwater

On Friday night, Morgan Lake lived through many drivers' nightmare: She found herself plummeting about 40 feet off the edge of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and into the water below. And the 22-year-old student managed a feat that pilots and military personnel take hours of specialized training to perfect: She escaped her sinking car, swam to safety and survived.

Ken Burton, president of Panama City, Fla.-based Stark Survival Co., has guided helicopter operators worldwide through his $2,295 underwater egress class. Lake had no practice in the art of escaping a vehicle, Burton said, but she got lucky.

"There are people who just have dumb luck," he said. "God was sitting on their right shoulders, so they get out, even without the knowledge, and that is so fortunate."

Burton, who was certified as an Air Force instructor, said he has trained corporate and government helicopter operators.

For those who might find themselves underwater in their cars, Burton offered this advice:

— Open the window as fast as possible — before you hit the water, if you can, or immediately afterward.

— Stay still, with your seat belt on, until the water in the car goes up to your chin. Then take several slow, deep breaths, and hold one.

— Do not try to open the door until water has stopped flooding into the car. Initially, the water outside will put pressure on the door of up to 600 pounds per square inch, meaning you won't be able to open it from the inside. The pressure inside and outside the car should equalize about the time you start holding your breath.

— If you can't open a door and you're trying to break a window instead, aim for a side window, never the windshield. Windshields are several layers thicker.

— Don't take off your seat belt until you have opened a door or window. Grip the steering wheel before you unbuckle. You'll need something keeping you tethered so that you can pull yourself out of the car.

— Once you're out of the vehicle, let your body take you to the surface. As Burton put it: "Don't worry about going up or down. When you take all those deep breaths and hold it, it's like you're inflating a balloon."

All of that, Burton said, should take about 30 seconds.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 24, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 22, 2014

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 19, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millions of Android phones, tablets vulnerable to Heartbleed bug

    Millions of smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system have the Heartbleed software bug, in a sign of how broadly the flaw extends beyond the Web and into consumer devices.

    April 17, 2014

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 16, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 297px-Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011.svg.png Why Starbucks won't recycle your paper coffee cup

    When you drop that used white paper cup into the bin next to the door at a Starbucks, have you done your part to save the planet? Starbucks has long hoped that you would think so. After all, there's no better way to attract an affluent, eco-conscious clientele than to convince customers that your disposable product is "renewable."

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Videos: Editor Picks