WNC water rescue teams receive new equipment


The state spent $1.4 million buying new swift water rescue gear, some of which will be used here in the mountains. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Emergency crews throughout North Carolina are getting much-needed equipment upgrades.

The state spent $1.4 million buying new swift-water rescue gear, some of which will be used here in the mountains.

“What’s interesting is that in Western North Carolina, Asheville does have the highest number of swift-water rescues," the Asheville Fire Department's Kelley Klope said.

So when the opportunity to apply for new gear presented itself, the AFD took it. The department received two new inflatable rescue boats and two new motors. The hope is the equipment will give AFD the capacity to better help other people in areas when needed.

“Now, if we do deploy, or when we deploy, we will be able to leave some of that equipment behind and still be able to serve the citizens here," Klope said.

“This was equipment from a state appropriation that was made last year," Sen. Chuck Edwards said.

This all comes from the more than $2 million in search and rescue funding that was included in the governor's budget last year. Edwards is part of the appropriation committee.

“It’s rewarding to know that I'm in a position to help these fine men and women out," Edwards said.

The Henderson County Rescue Squad was another team that received new gear.

“Hurricane season and all that is rolling right around the corner, people are out in the woods now and the calls are already increasing," HCRS Deputy Chief Tim McFalls said.

HCRS got two new boats and three new motors.

“The extra equipment provided is going to allow us to be able to take, at the request of the state, out of county resources, but still being able to still provide the resources in our own county," McFalls said.

Buncombe County Emergency Services and Cherokee Fire Department were also among the 26 state-sponsored water rescue teams from across North Carolina to receive gear this week.

The teams include:

  • Apex Fire Department
  • Asheville Fire Department
  • Alexander County Rescue Squad
  • Blowing Rock Fire Department
  • Brunswick County Emergency Services
  • Burke County Emergency Services
  • Buncombe County Emergency Services
  • Cary Fire Department
  • Charlotte Fire Department
  • Cherokee Fire Department
  • Davie County Rescue Squad
  • Greensboro Fire Department
  • Fayetteville Fire Department
  • Greenville/New Bern Fire Departments
  • Henderson County Emergency Services
  • Lewisville Fire Department
  • Lincoln County Emergency Services
  • Lumberton Rescue
  • Mooresville Fire Department
  • New Hanover County Fire Department
  • Onslow County Emergency Services
  • Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Fire Departments
  • Rocky Mount Fire Department
  • Rockingham County Emergency Services
  • South Orange Rescue Squad
  • Winston-Salem Fire Department