First responders: ‘Know your limitations’ to prevent risky rescues ahead of Ignacio

Their mission is to protect the public from harm’s way – but risky behavior can put emergency responders at risk, especially in the middle of a storm.

As powerful category 4 Hurricane Ignacio continues to approach Hawaii, Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Fire Department is asking people to rethink hiking or swimming these next few days.

“Don’t be the hero. A lot of times we have people who try to help, they’re the ones that drown,” warns Kevin Allen with Ocean Safety.

The department says if conditions worsen, it will add more lifeguards on duty.

“We may add a couple of mobile units and rescue teams. Depending on what the conditions are, because we’ve got to keep our people safe, too,” Allen said.

“Know your limitations,” adds Honolulu Fire Department Captain Kellii Vannatta.  “Listen to the radio. Listen to warnings or broadcasts regarding the hurricane.”

The Fire Department does not want a repeat of Wednesday’s rescue at Maunawili Falls.

“There had been a group stranded across flash floods,” explained Maunawili resident Brian McKay.

KHON spotted several hikers making their way to Maunawili Falls to take advantage of today’s calm weather.

“I’ve heard Monday and Tuesday’s weather is supposed to be crazy,” said Aiea resident Drew Swayne. “So maybe time your hike accordingly.”

They say to stay away from hiking these next few days.

“I would hope that most people would have the common sense that most people not to go on a hike prone to flash floods, especially in valley areas,” said Kaneohe resident Ryan Fried.

“Unfortunately, they and the fire department will get called out during the storm to rescue people,” said McKay. “They are definitely putting other people at risk, via helicopter or whatever they have to use to rescue people. Yeah, they get paid for it, but they shouldn’t have to come get you for your own negligence,” added Fried.

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