Oklahoma’s Task Force One arrived in North Carolina just as Florence did.
They’re at work rescuing flood victims.
A rescue swimmer on the task force said they training they’ve done here in Tulsa and in Oklahoma City is paying off as they work near Raleigh, North Carolina, where the water, in places, is still rising.
Oklahoma Task Force One joined teams from other states responding to the flooding.
“Over the last couple of days, the helicopter rescues have really begun to ramp up,” said task force member Frank Breese.
The first team to arrive included seven rescue swimmers, followed by Oklahoma National Guard helicopters from Lexington on Monday.
“A lot of these missions now are coming in for flooded vehicles, getting into high water, people getting trapped in their houses,” said Breese. “A lot of people got caught by surprise, the rivers are flooding and the lakes and dams can’t hold the water back, so we’re getting into areas that were not as prepared as the coast was.”
The Oklahoma team was just certified for the airborne rescues they’re now doing in difficult conditions.
“I appreciate the support that everyone back home has given us and allowed us to come out and assist the citizens here, so that’s been a real plus is all the support we’ve received from back home,” said team manager Chris Wright from the Oklahoma City Fire Department.
The teams expect to finish their work this Friday and return home for more training, using what they’ve learned from their time in North Carolina.