Search and Rescue Overview
North Carolina has a history of hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding and snowstorms. Now, terrorism has become a concern as well. N.C. Emergency Management coordinates Technical Search and Rescue Resources available for statewide deployment through the State-wide Mutual Aid Agreement. These resources come from many different backgrounds including law enforcement, fire, EMS, and rescue squads, and are comprised of both paid and non-paid professionals.
There are 11 Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces strategically located across the state available to assist first responders following structural collapse events, these teams can also provide Swiftwater/Flood Rescue and Land Search support. In addition, many Swiftwater Rescue, Wilderness/Land Search and Rescue, and Canine Search and Rescue Teams have strived to meet national credentialing to become available for state or national deployment as coordinated by NCEM. Many of the Wilderness SAR Teams can also provide Management Support with specialized training in incident management, lost person behavior and search theory.
Todd Brown, Emergency Services Supervisor, (919) 825-2259
Brian Barnes, Search and Rescue Coordinator, (919) 825-2255
Search and Rescue
NCEM Search and Rescue Program Events
NC-HART Team Trains on Mountain Rescue
Dozens of rescue technicians from fire departments and EMS squads across the state spent the week of Feb. 23, 2011 training with emergency management staff and National Guard aviators as part of North Carolina's Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team. The team practiced rescuing survivors trapped on rock ledges in isolated areas.
The exercise marked the most difficult mountainous terrain rescues the group has trained for to date. It also marked the first time the group used live volunteers with the National Guard Lakota LUH-72 helicopter for such missions.
The group partnered with staff from Crowder's Mountain State Park in Gastonia to conduct the training.
Managed by NC Emergency Management, the NC HART program combines the expertise of local rescue technicians with the training, maintenance and capabilities of the NC National Guard and NC Highway Patrol aviation units.
Participating agencies include: N.C. Emergency Management, N.C. National Guard, Gaston County EMS and Fire, Asheville Fire/Rescue, Burke County EMS, Cary Fire Dept., Charlotte Fire Dept., Greenville Fire Dept., New Bern Fire Dept., Rocky Mount Fire Dept., South Orange Rescue Squad and Transylvania EMS.
See the links below for more media coverage:
NC-HART Training Applies Lessons Learned in Real Rescue
RALEIGH -- On Nov. 3, 2010, members of the North Carolina Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team, known as HART, extracted a South Carolina woman from treacherous terrain in the woods of Alleghany County. The 25-year old Elgin resident had been missing for nearly a week. Search and rescue teams located the woman Monday evening, but could not bring her out of the woods until the next morning because of the severe conditions.
Today the HART team trained again for what they put into practice yesterday.
The HART team is comprised of the best civilian rescuers combined with military and law enforcement aviation assets. Local rescue technicians complete extensive helo-aquatic rescue training and are paired with helicopters from the National Guard or State Highway Patrol. On any given mission, three of the 47 specially-trained rescue technicians are called to fly with the helicopter pilots to rescue people stranded by rising flood waters, swift water or from dangerous terrain, as the crew did yesterday.
Approximately 20 technicians from local fire departments or rescue squads have spent the past three days working with the pilots to refine their skills. The crews train together quarterly, but this week's training took place in Dupont State Forest in neighboring Transylvania County. Ironically, the group had been practicing how to rescue victims who are stranded on mountains, cliffs and waterfalls.
The crew that saved the South Carolinian had rescue technicians from Asheville, Charlotte and Rocky Mount on board, but the first responders could have been from any of the 12 agencies that participate in the program.
Begun in 1999, the NCHART program was the first of its kind in the nation to implement a regimented training and response program that combines civilian and military resources. Teams were used extensively following hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004 to rescue an estimated 350 residents from fast moving water and landslides that had trapped hundreds of people.
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