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Dorchester County Receives Grant Funded Equipment for Water Rescue Team

Post Date:05/03/2019 12:00 PM

Dorchester County Fire Rescue (DCFR), with the assistance of the  Dorchester County Emergency Management Department (DCEMD), recently received equipment purchased with a FEMA grant that is intended to help build local emergency response capabilities. 

The grant funds were used to outfit ten firefighters in complete water gear, including full body dry suits, personal flotation devices, boots, gloves, helmets and headlamps.  Each kit also includes rescue rope and rigging.The new gear better equips DCFR to safely respond to emergencies within the county’s numerous waterways. 

During the record flooding event experienced in 2015, Dorchester County had to rely heavily on out of state resources.  Since then, DCFR has worked to develop a team within the county to respond to these types of emergencies, in addition to providing year-round coverage of the county’s natural waterways.  Since its inception, the team has responded to multiple incidents on both the Ashley and Edisto rivers.  The team has also provided water safety/rescue for several public events hosted on both rivers, most recently the Ashley River Adventure race.

Additionally, DCFR has developed a special operations division, with eleven current members specially assigned to the water rescue team, that conduct additional training and exercises outside of their regular duties.  The team conducts monthly training at Edisto River Adventures, who graciously hosts the team for training sessions at their landing on the Edisto River.

DCEMD Director, Mario Formisano said “The determination to utilize these funds on this project was based on lessons learned (and now applied) from past flood events. The development of the Special Operations Division of DCFR positions the County to respond safely and more effectively to water rescue missions in the future.”