ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday authorized the deployment of members of the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (MD-HART) to North Carolina to assist in potential rescues from the effects of Hurricane Dorian.
As the storm continues its track up the coast, Governor Hogan has been in contact with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to offer support and needed assistance.
Governor Hogan is urging Maryland residents to prepare for strong winds and flooding as the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Dorchester, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has increased the state’s activation level and the State Emergency Operations Center is staffed with emergency management personnel and state agency representatives.
“As we continue to track Hurricane Dorian, we are committed to providing needed resources and assistance to our neighbors to the south, while taking every precaution ahead of the storm’s potential impact on the Lower Shore and St. Mary’s County,” said Governor Hogan. “I urge Marylanders to stay tuned to your local news stations for updates, heed warnings from state and local authorities, and most importantly, use common sense.”
The MD-HART, consisting of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters with four crew members from the Maryland Army National Guard and two divers from the Baltimore, Howard, and Montgomery County Fire Departments, departed on Thursday ahead of Hurricane Dorian affecting the North Carolina coast.
The MD-HART is able to support multiple missions including vehicle rescue in swift water flood zones, structure rescue through window/door/balcony insertion, and structure rescue from rooftops and confined areas in flood zones, mountain wilderness extractions, tree rescue/extrication, open/inland/swift water rescue, and mass rescue capability. This support is delivered through hoist and short-haul capable helicopters. The team is also trained in disaster assessment.
In 2018, the MD-HART was deployed to North Carolina in support of Hurricane Florence relief efforts. In 2010, the MD-HART Team was awarded the highly acclaimed Higgins and Langley International Swiftwater/Flood Rescue Award for program and team development. The MD-HART program has also been observed and used as a model for the development of helicopter rescue response programs in other states.