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Lexington County first responders deploy to assist after Hurricane Matthew

Lexington County, SC – A number of our area’s first responders are currently deployed to areas along the coast of SC to assist with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew.

A swift water rescue team from the West Columbia Fire Department was dispatched to the Conway area of Horry County to assist in search and rescue efforts in that county. They took a special operations boat and two 4-wheel drive vehicles with them.

This team consisted of four specially trained personnel. According to Chief Wyatt Coleman of the WCFD, they came back into West Columbia on Sunday night. That department is working to gather the resources to send a second team soon.

The Cayce Department of Public Safety has a team of four in that area also deployed to the coastal and Conway portions in Horry County. The have taken one 4-wheel drive truck and a boat with them.

According to Chief Byron Snelgrove, he is sending a team to relieve them today. Sometime this afternoon, the first team will come back home to rest and recover.

Lexington County also has specially trained personnel on a technical rescue team in the Hilton Head Island area of our state. These first responders are trained in special rescue operations involving collapsed buildings.

Battalion Chief Brad Amick of the Lexington County Fire service is on that team that is designated SC Task Force Five. He is joined by other personnel from the City of Columbia and other responders from Lexington County.

Their team member’s social media post confirm that they are all doing well. They are working to make sure that all collapsed structures are cleared of the injured or deceased. They are trained to search building thoroughly and methodically and leave special markings on the outside that indicates that those buildings have been cleared.

This team is working out of a specially equipped truck from the City of Columbia Fire Department. That unit has shoring equipment that includes hydraulic rams, sheeting, and also air quality monitors and fans for ventilation. They also have two boats with them that are being provided by the SC State Urban Search and Rescue team.

Many other areas of the state came to our aid during the floods of 2015. Mutual aid is key to having a quick and effective response to major natural disasters such as a hurricane or earthquake.

You can follow the operation of SC Task Force Five on Facebook at There are pictures from the West Columbia team on their Facebook page at

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Call Paul Kirby

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