Helicopter rescue team trains ahead of hurricane season at MYR

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) — Hurricane season is upon us and first responders at Grand Strand are preparing.

However, in some situations, first responders cannot reach people in need. This is where the Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team can help.

The HART team trained at Myrtle Beach International Airport on Thursday. It is a partnership made up of firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and members of the National Guard.

Executives say the HART team is prepared for almost anything, with members undergoing extensive training essential to the situations they face. For example, the team helped rescue 32 rescue workers the first day Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas.

The initiative has also helped in emergencies in other countries.

“Our search and rescue task force has landed in Louisiana a few times,” said Ken Kerber, a US Amry Reserve assistant state fire marshal and a member of the HART team. “We have a wonderful partnership with Louisiana, they call us first and we call them first; Hopefully a hurricane doesn’t hit Louisiana and South Carolina at the same time.”

HART members are specifically trained in rapid water rescue, and pilots are trained to understand water flow to safely assist those in need.

“Water is powerful,” said Kerber. “It can affect the rescuer. It can affect how victims are.”

Other members of the team also say it’s worth being a part of.

“We’re not doing this to get awards or anything like that,” said Chad Beam, a HART lifeguard. “Because it’s a passion of ours. We are all firefighters and paramedics. It’s an amazing partnership with our friends in the military. So to work with them and carry out a mission like this for the people of South Carolina is unmatched.”

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