SC sending National Guard helicopters, rescue swimmers to Texas

Volunteers evacuate a neighborhood inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (NEWS RELEASE) – Governor Henry McMaster announced today that South Carolina has received a request from Texas for emergency assistance following Hurricane Harvey and that the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Teams (SC-HART) have been deployed in response.

Gov. McMaster signed executive order 2017-16, which places the South Carolina National Guard on state duty in support of Texas.

Each SC-HART crew consists of a UH-60 Black Hawk Army helicopter with four soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard and will be partnered with rescue swimmers from State Fire’s Emergency Response Task Force that consists of firefighters from fire departments throughout the state.

Both available teams will be deployed along with a ground team, which will total eight soldiers and nine rescue swimmers.

“The magnitude of flooding and damage that Hurricane Harvey has brought to Texas is truly heartbreaking, but the heroic action and sacrifice by thousands of volunteers and first responders give inspiration to the nation,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “South Carolina stands ready to fulfill any further requests from Governor Abbott and his team.”

SC-HART is a collaborative effort between State Fire’s Emergency Response Task Force, a division of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, S.C. Emergency Management Division and South Carolina Army National Guard Aviation Units.

Additionally, in response to a request from the United States Forest Service, the South Carolina Forestry Commission will send 18 members of its Incident Management Team (IMT) tomorrow to assist with ongoing flood recovery efforts in Texas.

The team will provide organizational structure to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of relief operations.

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