Vermont Swift Water Rescue Team Heads to Texas

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Officials in Texas have made a nationwide request, calling for 100 swift water rescue teams through what is called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact or EMAC.

"It is a state to state mutual aid system... Vermont benefited from it greatly six years ago right now,” explained Christopher Herrick, Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety.

Answering the call for Vermont is task force one. Ahead of the 34-hour drive Thursday, members of the group were packing up.

"We will bring down five rescue boats and a logistics trailer... So that's three trailers and five vehicles to transport this,” said Mike Cannon, Colchester Technical Rescue Program Manager.

Colchester Tech is just one of the agencies represented on the task force. Other members include mostly firefighters from Brattleboro, Burlington, Hartford, Lyndonville, Rutland, Springfield, South Burlington and Williston. Cannon says the 16-member crew will be based in College Station, Texas and will be searching for people stranded by floodwaters.

Cannon said, "We are set-up for self-sustainability for the eight days... Our own shelter, our own water because we don't want to be an impact on areas already impacted."

This marks the first out-of-state deployment for the team, Governor Phil Scott says at this point it's the only resources Vermont will be sending.

"We will continue to work with them and without being a burden on them... There have been a number of Vermonters that have asked, ‘What can we do to help’," said Scott, R- Vermont.

One of those Vermonters is Jacob Kent, from Richmond who reached out to Local 22 & Local 44 News before his departure Thursday evening.

"I saw a lot of the news on Twitter, on social media and I have been trying to keep up with it the last few days and decided I'd fly down, leave some space and pick up some supplies and a truck-load of water into Beaumont," said Kent.

Kent says he is funding his trip and the first truck-load himself, but he's also started a GoFundMe page to help pay for additional supplies.

"Just find a way to do it, I mean I think sometimes it feels too big to help but small things make a difference as we all here and even in this case, a flight across the country is pretty easy to figure out,” said Kent.

For the swift water rescue team, they're expecting a challenging but manageable journey.

Cannon said, "It's easy to say that we are going to go down and do a lot of good things but what often gets forgotten is all these folks here have family, they have kids so they are actually leaving a whole lot behind."

Scott says General Steven Cray of the Vermont National Guard has been in contact with his counter parts in Texas, at this time there are no plans to send any units.

More Stories

Don't Miss

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center