SC Forestry Division, National Guard Lending a Hand in Texas After Hurricane Harvey

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)-The South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (HART)  left for Dallas Tuesday. The team is made up of eight national guard soldiers and nine rescue swimmers.

Another agency that left for Texas is the state forestry commission, an agency that may not come to mind when you think about disaster recovery but is home to our state’s only type two incident management team.

“It’s really designed for wildfire initially but it’s taken and adapted to fit any kind of response where you have a lot of resources or a really chaotic situation to develop the plan, give everybody orders, and make sure we all know what we’re doing and we’re not duplicating the effort and accomplishing the mission in the best way possible,” said Commission Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones.

The commission said before the governor signed his order, the U.S. Forest Service already requested their assistance. They said they are ready to help however they can.

“Right now, we are ordered to Texas, we don’t know exactly where the team is going to end up. The mission we think we are going to do is to help distribute supplies to either communities that need it or individuals that need it,” said Jones.

For the commission, their disaster missions are twofold.” We regularly send people out to help. The benefit for us is experience and training for our folks. So when they come back and we have the next disaster, we’re better prepared to. So it helps them immediately and it helps us gain experience and knowledge for next time,” Jones said.

The Forestry Commission said many of it’s members have years of experience covering disasters ranging from Hurricane Matthew just last year all the way back to responding to the September 11th attacks in 2001. These groups will be deployed for at least two weeks.

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