Goldsboro fire rescue team practices flood water rescues to stay prepared

The Goldsboro Swift Water Rescue Team practices flood water rescues (AJ Janavel/CBS North Carolina)


GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — On Tuesday, the Goldsboro Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team practiced flood water rescues so they’re ready for the next big storm.

After Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, Texas and a tropical storm threatened the North Carolina coast, rescue teams were on alert to act fast.

Goldsboro fire officials say last fall it was a different story.

“Last year when [Hurricane] Matthew came through we were unprepared,” said Capt. Don Collins with Goldsboro Fire Department.

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When flood waters and winds pounded Goldsboro last fall during Matthew, Collins says his team was ready to act, but he says readiness was not enough.

“I can say its sheer luck that got us out,” he said.

The rescue team did not have the equipment or training to handle what Hurricane Matthew brought, he said.

Since the massive storm, his team has worked to prepare for the next one.

They now have boats, equipment and months of training.

“We have to be prepared to handle any situation no matter how frequent or infrequent we have it,” said Capt. Vaden Lee with Goldsboro Fire Department.

Lee has worked with Goldsboro for more than 20 years.

Lee assisted the rescue team while they practiced real-life water rescue situations.

Crews worked their way through high river waters simulating a car rescue in flood waters.

The team has been doing this kind of practicing for months ever since Matthew hit.

Lee says when the next big storm hits they’ll be ready this time.

“I have no doubt in the abilities of the guys who are out here,” he said.

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