Amid national flooding, Eastern Carolina first responders train for water rescues
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - With flash flooding threats and the peak of hurricane season on the horizon, first responders in the East are training for the moments when disaster strikes.
On the water, all it takes sometimes is one moment for things to spiral out of control.
“We want these teams prepared and ready to go into action on a moment’s notice,” Greenville Fire Chief Carson Sanders said.
That’s why the Greenville and New Bern fire departments, along with Greenville police, spent Wednesday morning training for swift water rescues.
“As we saw in Greenville a couple weeks ago, we had flash flooding,” Sanders said. “So the ability to mobilize and start rescuing people... we had seven or eight rescues that night.”
Crews learned how to lift someone out of the water and how to maneuver around obstacles.
For New Bern Fire Capt. Steven Jerome, it’s not a matter of if, but when they’ll need to use these skills—which means it’s necessary to practice often.
“It becomes muscle memory; you’re met with a scenario or a situation and you know how to resolve it or mitigate that hazard,” Jerome said.
While Wednesday’s exercise was planned, seeing the impact of flooding across the country recently is a reminder of how dangerous and deadly flooding can be.
“Everybody remembers Hurricane Florence, and that’s kind of what we base a lot of our talk on now, especially because of how it affected a lot of us, especially in New Bern,” Jerome said.
The training keeps crews fresh each year.
“With what’s been happening with the storms, in places like Kentucky or Missouri, it’s good to make sure that everyone in Greenville and New Bern knows that we’re ready,” Sanders said.
Crews plan to continue training on the Tar River on Thursday.
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