Swift-water rescue crews from Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area headed to coast to help ahead of Hurricane Dorian

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LYNCHBURG-ROANOKE VALLEY, Va. (WFXR News) – Swift-water rescue crews from the Lynchburg area and the Roanoke Valley are making their way towards the coast to help out ahead of Dorian.

The crew from the Roanoke Valley is headed to the Richmond area and the Lynchburg crew to Suffolk. They’ll be staging near the areas expected to get hit by the storm.

Members from both crews say from there, it depends on what the storm does that determines what they do next.

“As the storms come through, whatever they need we’ll respond to,” said Captain John Ripley with Lynchburg Fire Department.

Captain Ripley says they got put on notice about 48 hours ago to be read just in case, and then around 11 Thursday morning they got the call they there were needed.

“Lot’s of times it’s just going out with the boats if the streets are flooded and people can’t get in or out. We may be doing some search and rescue inside of houses, it just depends on how bad it gets,” Ripley said.

He went on to say it can get pretty bad, which is why they are always training.

“This is one of the most dangerous things we can do is swift water and floodwater,” Ripley said.

“There’s a lot of dangers involved with it that’s why we go through a lot of different training.”

Chief David Hoback with Roanoke City Fire-EMS says during a significant weather event local resources go quickly. So they are going to provide backup.

“We’ve gotten overwhelmed in this valley and had to call outside resources in. And we really want to make sure that if we have situations that we can get to those people quickly and make sure that they’re safe,” Chief Hoback said.

While the primary goal will be to help others, the teams can also benefit by getting valuable experience.

“Any time we get deployed it’s also a learning opportunity for us. What we can do to get ready better as we’re down there. We can always find out any deficiencies we have as far as equipment or training while we’re down there. So we can come back and we’ll learn from that,” Captain Ripley said.

Both teams are prepared to be gone for about three or four days but that could change depending on how much impact the storm has on the Commonwealth.

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