By Michael Barakey
Virginia Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team (VA-TF 2) has deployed to an area in South Carolina devastated by historic flooding.
VA-TF 2 worked the Lower Richland County Division today. With two divisions and four squads working, the team was able to touch almost 600 homes. Special considerations were identified and sent to the South Carolina IMT and the Columbia (SC) Fire Department.
Yesterday, VA-TF 2 searched an area assigned by Columbia Fire Department. The task force performed welfare checks and went door to door in an area that had not yet received any responders. The area was marked by GPS. The team found animals that were in need of care as well as citizens who had not been out since the storm.
VA-TF 2 checked many homes and made contact with more than 30 individuals. VA-TF 2 then went to Williamsburg County, South Carolina, for an area that was reported to have rising flood waters. The team continues to work in Williamsburg County.
According to news reports, record-setting rainfall has compromised dams in the Columbia area, prompting evacuations as officials work to stabilize the structure. Authorities have made hundreds of water rescues since the flooding began over the weekend after the region was soaked by rains prompted by the passing of Hurricane Joaquin in the Atlantic. At least 10 people are dead, and responders and rescue workers continue to check on residents in the wake of the storm.
Follow the team’s work on their Facebook page HERE.
MICHAEL BARAKEY, CFO, is a district chief with the Virginia Beach (VA) Fire Department. He is the former chief of training and the department’s accreditation manager. He is a hazmat specialist, an instructor III, a national registered paramedic, and a plans team manager for VA-TF2. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.