Catastrophic coastal flooding threatens residents
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today a 13-member Swiftwater search and rescue team, and the required mission equipment, will deploy to North Carolina to assist with water rescues due to the catastrophic inland and coastal flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. These first responders hail from the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) IL-Task Force 1 Swiftwater Team from northern Illinois and are made up of members from various fire departments throughout the state. The team will be deployed to the Tar Heel state for 10 days.
The Swiftwater team conducts search, rescue, and recovery missions for humans and animals in flooded environments. In addition, the team is capable of providing on-the-spot emergency medical care, emergency transportation for medical necessities and supports helicopter rescue operations and urban search and water rescue (SAR) in water environments.
“Hurricane Florence is expected to inflict a long and agonizing assault on the Carolina coast,” Rauner said. “Florence’s relentless rain, storm surges and hurricane force winds have resulted in hundreds of water rescues in extremely dangerous conditions. Our Illinois crews have trained year-round for these types of rescues and will be a valuable resource for the Tar Heel state.”
The MABAS team will depart this evening from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Springfield after receiving event identification, mission and safety briefings and mobilization assistance. This process ensures the accountability and readiness of personnel and state assets prior to departure.
This deployment is the second from Illinois in response to Hurricane Florence. On Thursday, ten Illinois Army National Guard soldiers and two helicopters deployed for a ten-day mission to support relief efforts in North Carolina. Both deployments were in response to requests submitted by the Tar Heel state through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). All costs associated with these deployments will be paid for by North Carolina.
Illinois and its public safety agencies stand ready to provide assistance in response to further EMAC requests as the east coast continues to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.