Rocky Mount Fire Department Employees Train with the NC Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team

It was 17 years ago, but for many Twin County residents, the memories are still painful and fresh, etched into minds and embedded into history. Viewers across the country were transfixed to their televisions, watching news from Rocky Mount about the raging floodwaters of the Tar River sweeping across the city limits. 

Flooding from Hurricane Floyd had a devastating effect on the Twin Counties. But despite the tragedy, heroes emerged--- from those who selflessly gave of their time and possessions to the brave men and women of emergency services who put their lives on the line to rescue others. 

It’s during times of catastrophe like Hurricane Floyd that citizens can truly appreciate the regular water rescue training that goes on behind-the-scenes.

Recently, the Rocky Mount Fire Department (RMFD) employees trained with the NC Helo-Aquatic rescue team, assisted by the RMFD Swiftwater Emergency Response team. Three RMFD members, Jamey Cooke, Anthony Ladd, and Ryan Groesser, are on this elite state team.

What is the NC Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART)?

This highly specialized team utilizes NC National Guard and State Highway Patrol helicopters to conduct helicopter based rescues. Their missions may include saving those trapped by floodwaters or evacuating the severely injured in hard-to-reach areas who need medical attention. 

Teams complete extensive training to be prepared for a variety of complex missions.

NCHART responds to requests from local emergency management coordinators if there are no local resources available for assistance.

The Rocky Mount Fire Department Also Administers PADD Project and Delivers AEDs

The RMFD serves the community in many other ways that may not be as visible as fighting fires or saving citizens from rising waters. Phillip Davis, the life safety educator, administers the PADD project, which provides automated external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the community. 

AEDs can make the difference between life and death for someone suffering a heart attack. Unlike the professional medical defibrillators, AEDs can be used by a layperson, providing help until paramedics arrive.

PADD is a part of a three-year grant through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Approximately 151 AEDs have been placed in 125 locations throughout Rocky Mount. In addition, almost 10 percent of Rocky Mount’s population has been trained in CPR and on the AED at the end of the grant’s term in 2015. 


The Rocky Mount Fire Department is Internationally Accredited

The Rocky Mount Fire Department is internationally accredited, an honor they have held three times since 2003. In 2013, they received another five-year accreditation. This process is instrumental in ensuring fire departments are adhering to industry best practices to serve their citizens.

Preparation also requires that all firefighters participate in a mandatory fitness program. One element of this program is the “hose workout,” where firefighters bundle old fire hoses into different size packs weighing 20, 30 and 40 pounds. It’s important that firefighters vary their exercise routines. If the body performs the same routine over and over, it plateaus physically.

Want to know more about the Rocky Mount Fire Department?

The RMFD has a Fire and Life Safety Educator who provides residents and students with information about what the department does and how to stay safe and calm in case of a fire.

Fire station tours and public education requests require a two-week advance notice. Realize that the engine and crew may be called away to respond to an emergency, in which case the program will be rescheduled. 

All programs must be for educational purposes. The department cannot accommodate requests for parties or non-educational events. The department has an online request form for those interested in informative programs. 

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