KINSTON, North Carolina (WDTN) – As Hurricane Florence continues to make its way inland, first responders from the Miami Valley are in the Carolinas, ready to help.
Dayton fire district chief Adam Landis is on the ground in Kinston, North Carolina as part of Ohio Task Force 1.
He’s a rescue specialist on a 16-member water rescue team. He said based on how things are looking now and information from county officials, they are expecting widespread flooding.
“The way this area typically floods, we are expecting to do a lot of water activity,” Landis said. “The way the water has the potential to roll through here, we are expecting to be busy when it comes that time. We are expecting flooding in this area.”
Florence hit the coast with 90 mile per hour winds and torrential rain. It remains a category one storm with officials warning of storm surge and flooding.
Task Force Leader and Sycamore Trails Fire Captain Jeff Newman said he was deployed to the area before during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and it has flooded before.
“The reason we’re assigned with Lenoir County is the historical perspective that occurred two years ago with Hurricane Matthew,” Newman said. “With any event, the water occurs in one place, it floods that and then moves down river and floods other places… So that is exactly why we’re staged where we are in anticipation of the same things possible occurring.”
Newman and Landis say right now, the team is memorizing street maps and double checking equipment, ready to deploy as soon as they get word that they’re needed.
“We’re staged. We’ve got everything prepped to go.So basically almost acting as a supplement to the 911 response,” Newman said. “We actually are deployed with john boats, with rescue inflatable boats, and i’ve got my guys divided into wo emergency response teams.”
Landis says the team is “doing everything it can” to prepare.
“We’re studying the maps, looking at all the potential areas that we think we may go to,” Landis said. “Any information that we can get our hands on now that’s going to better prepare us when we’re out there in the water, in the boats, maneuvering through those areas, that are not typically under water.”