Vt. Rescue Crew Heads to North Carolina Ahead of Hurricane Florence

A team of 17 water experts are heading to North Carolina for a 10-day deployment ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall

As thousands of families flee the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence’s impending landfall, a rescue team from New England is heading toward the treacherous conditions.

The Vermont Task Force One, a team comprised of 17 water rescue experts across Vermont and nearby Lebanon, New Hampshire, left for North Carolina  Tuesday for a 10-day deployment.

"I think it’s amazing that these people are willing to leave their families at home for 10 or 11 days," said Mike Cannon, a member of the rescue squad. "It's the career for most of them to help people in their time of need, in crisis."

The unit specializes in swift water rescues and will be stationed in Raleigh. There, they will help other area agencies respond to emergencies, such as saving people from flooded homes.

"We get the reward of helping people and their families all the time," said Emily Fitzpatrick, another member of the rescue unit. "From what the National Weather Service is saying, it’s going to be a pretty big, bad hurricane."

As of Tuesday morning, the storm remained as a Category 4, with winds up to 130 mph. However, it is expected to approach Category 5 status as it nears North and South Carolina.

The governor of South Carolina ordered the entire coastline to evacuate beginning at noon Tuesday. Virginia’s governor issued a mandatory evacuation for communities in low, coastal areas. North Carolina’s governor sent the same notice.

An estimated 1 million people are expected to evacuate the three states.

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