Shelby County Fire Department deployed a rescue crew to Texas as part of Tennessee Task Force One. Through the power of social media, a desperate plea from Houston resident Melissa Shute made its way to Shelby County and back, eventually leading to her rescue.
Melissa Shute published the following plea to Facebook on Saturday:
The post and her address were shared by her friend, Sarah Cannon. From there, Carolyn Gish of Bartlett saw the post and alerted Shelby County Fire Department, who had been active on Facebook about its rescue efforts.
When Shelby County Fire Deputy Chief Glen Kneeland saw Gish's note about Shute's situation, he made some calls.
"I immediately contacted our division chief at the task force located in Katy, Texas. He brought it up the chain to the water rescue leadership," Kneeland said.
Within two hours, the rescue was complete.
"The true heroes are the firefighters and first responders down there right now. I kind of acted as a middle man and saw a chance where we could help out here in Shelby County," Kneeland said.
"It is really a testament to where we are and as many negative things are said about social media, here we have a positive," Shelby County Fire Department's public information officer, Brent Perkins, said.
Shelby County Fire Department wants to remind everyone that Facebook is not a substitute for 911. That is always the primary way to contact them in the event of an emergency.
In Houston, social media has played an important role in survivors finding help as dispatchers and rescuers work around the clock to keep up with the calls.
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