Roanoke Valley swift water team comes home after helping flood-impacted Hurley

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: Roanoke Fire-EMS, along with the team members of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Region 6 Swift Water Team, are returning home from Hurley, Virginia.

The team assisted with Search and Rescue Operations after significant flooding that impacted northern Buchanan County, in far southwest Virginia. Crews helped residents who couldn’t escape their homes safely and on the own.

After an evaluation of further needs in the area, the team has been demobilized and will return to the Roanoke Valley Tuesday evening.

ORIGINAL STORY: A regional swift water team has headed to western Virginia to help with flooding impacting the area.

Roanoke Fire-EMS, part of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Region 6 Swift Water Team, left Monday afternoon for Hurley, which has seen substantial rain.

Hurley is in Buchanan County, near the Kentucky and West Virginia state lines.

The Region 6 Swift Water Team is made of personnel from Roanoke Fire-EMS, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue, and Salem Fire & EMS.

“You can imagine the response to somewhere, you know, they have imminent danger and people at risk,” says Battalion Chief Trevor Shannon, an Emergency Management Coordinator for the region.

Shannon says Roanoke Fire-EMS was contacted late Monday morning by state coordinators asking how many boats they could send to Hurley.

After dispatching a team from Bristol, our region was next in line.

“In approximately an hour or so I was contacted again by the same individual saying ‘Hey we need you on the ground, get on the road,’” recalls Shannon.

Monday, roughly 20 people, about six per boat team, took off from the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire and EMS training center heading to Hurley.

Crews were told to prepare for what may be a multi-day operation if additional rain from Ida puts more people at risk.

“Hopefully through the night and maybe into tomorrow but we’re already talking our chiefs are talking about swapping crews and sending others down,” said Shannon.

All the while, local leaders are making sure our area is prepared for whatever storm remnants may come through.

“While these conversations are going on and we’re preparing teams to get on the road, we’re sending four to six boats down the road to another community, we’re still talking about hey, who else has boats here and so we know each community here still has boats. We’re still able to get people out there. If we have an incident here in the city tomorrow, we will still have a swift water team available to respond.”

The Franklin County Department of Public Safety Special Operations Team also responded to help flood victims in the Hurley area.

Hurley VA Rainfall... 8.30.31
Hurley VA Rainfall... 8.30.31(WDBJ7)
Roanoke swift water team deployed to Hurley VA
Roanoke swift water team deployed to Hurley VA(WDBJ7)

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