‘It will absolutely protect you from the water:’ Osceola County Sheriff’s Office shows off hurricane response vehicles

Department seized the high water rescue vehicles about two and a half years ago following a fraud case

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been one year since Hurricane Ian hit Florida as a Category 4 storm.

The storm killed nearly 150 people and left $112 billion in damages in its wake.

Hurricane Ian brought record-breaking rainfall to Florida and left many underwater. In Kissimmee, people left their homes as the stormwater began pouring in. Others were stuck in their cars as roads flooded.

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The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office rescued them with airboats and high-water rescue vehicles.

Admin. Major Dan Weiss with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department talked about those vehicles on Talk to Tom.

He said the department seized the high water rescue vehicles about two and a half years ago following a fraud case.

“We took them, retrofitted them, the shocks got a little higher, they got new tires, a paint job, and made it road-worthy, and made it ready to go to rescue our citizens in our community,” Weiss said.

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Weiss added the vehicles can hold up to 30 people and ride through several feet of water.

“It will absolutely protect you from the water,” he said.

The vehicle has seen a lot of refurbishments, but the sheriff’s office isn’t done yet. Weis said new lifts will be added to the trucks next week so people will have an easier time getting inside if another hurricane were to bring high flood waters.

Another tool available to the sheriff’s office is airboats. Weis said the Agriculture and Marine Unit has three of them and that they can be utilized in addition to their modified trucks.

To hear more about the resources the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has to help rescue people during hurricanes check out Talk to Tom.

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About the Authors:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 3:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.