Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team Deploys for Hurricane Florence
Article by Spc. Roan Bascoe, video by Staff Sgt. Michael Davis, photos by Spc. Catherine Gondeiro, members of the 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
BALTIMORE (Sept. 16, 2018) — Twenty personnel with the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team departed for North Carolina on Sept. 16, 2018, to assist with hurricane recovery efforts after being activated by the governor of Maryland on Sept. 12.
The team consists of members of the Maryland National Guard; helicopter search and rescue experts from Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Montgomery Counties; two UH-60L Blackhawks for search and rescue operations and one CH-46F Chinook for personnel and equipment transportation.
“When we had the riots in Baltimore, when we had that flooding in Ellicott City, every time there’s a major storm event or any kind of a crisis, we call on the Guard and they’re always there,” said Governor Larry Hogan when he addressed troops in La Plata, Maryland, on Sept. 13.
The MD-HART trains quarterly and prepares responders for emergency situations such as floods, hurricanes and accidents that require helicopter capabilities to assist in rescue.
The team’s multi-mission capabilities include vehicle rescue in swiftwater and flood zones; structure rescue through window, door and balcony insertion; rescue from rooftop and tree; and mountain and wilderness extrications.
In October 2016, the governor deployed MD-HART for four days to Fipp Island, Columbia, and Nichols in South Carolina to assist with Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.
In 2010, the MD-HART was awarded the highly acclaimed “Higgins and Langley International Swiftwater/Flood Rescue Award” for program and team development.