Exclusive: Fayetteville rescue teams test, train ahead of Hurricane Florence

Thursday, September 13, 2018

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Fayetteville Fire Department's Swift Water Rescue Team is preparing ahead of Hurricane Florence.

"In the fire service we laugh and say eat before you get hungry and sleep before you get tired, so we're in the preparation stages," Chief Robert Brinson said.

On Wednesday, they showed ABC11 how they were preparing.

MORE: Full coverage of Hurricane Florence

"Putting boats in the water and running through some maneuvering making sure everything is ready on our end and ready to respond," Chief Brinson said.

The team is preparing for swift-water rescues. During Matthew, FFD did about 700 rescues in the days after the storm.

"We learned a lot from that, we learned a lot of our gaps and challenges, and so we've closed those gaps," Brinson said. "So we have boats and water crews positions across Fayetteville right now based off flood mapping."

On Wednesday morning, the Fire Department invited only ABC11 in for an exclusive look at some last-minute refresher training. Reporter Morgan Norwood was "rescued,"' with the team testing its abilities to pull her out of the water within seconds.

"The key to this is to activate very quickly, and the bigger piece on the front side of that is turn around don't drown. Don't go into the water," Brinson said.