MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – Morehead City and Newport firefighters are diving into a new program.
Both departments are coming together to launch a new water rescue team.
Local officials say they saw the need for specialized equipment during Hurricane Florence. With the help of grant money and local contributions, they were able to acquire the supplies needed to start the program.
Both departments have tools to respond to emergencies in the intercoastal waterways but lack the supplies to help in inland water rescues.
A dry suit, fins, life vests, a throw rope, snorkel, and helmet are just a few of the tools members of the team will be receiving.
The equipment includes motors and boats that will help in situations like flash flooding or swift water rescues.
“Like a rapidly moving creek, something of that nature. We can and get them through these boats and motors,” said Jaime Fulk, Morehead City Fire & EMS Fire Chief.
Firefighters will learn the ropes before launching the program — training in boat handling, water, and general rescues.
“It’s not something you do overnight, it will probably over the next year worth of training,” said Brian Pasko, Battalion Chief at Morehead City Fire & EMS.
Morehead City and Newport Fire Departments are aiming to be a type two team — allowing them to deploy to other cities in case of a water emergency.
The team leader is looking to have 24 fire personnel from both departments join the team.
The water rescue team is set to be operational in 2021.