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North Chatham Fire Department Water Rescue Team Honored By Governor

Governor Cooper recognized those who helped during Hurricane Matthew

Post Date:10/06/2017 4:23 PM

North Chatham Fire Department's Water Rescue Team was among those honored today by Governor Roy Cooper for their swift rescue efforts during Hurricane Matthew last fall. He proclaimed today “Search and Rescue Day” in North Carolina in recognition of the lifesaving work done by these heroes.Governor Cooper with North Chatham fire department leaders

Approximately 100 members of search and rescue teams from the mountains to the coast participated in today’s event. Shown in the photo with Governor Cooper (center) are North Chatham's Eric Solomon and Deputy Chief Mark Riggsbee. 

“Each year, our first responders save people trapped in rising floodwaters, lost in remote wooded areas or injured during mountain hikes, putting their own lives at risk to save others” said Gov. Cooper. “We’re grateful for the work they did following Hurricane Matthew, and for the work they do each time they’re called upon to help.”

“We are very proud of our North Carolina rescuers, many of whom served in their own communities and others who came from great distances to help where it was needed,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “We are also grateful to other states and federal agencies who sent help when we needed it.”

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew’s impact on North Carolina. Matthew dumped 8 to 12 inches of rain across much of central and eastern North Carolina and up to 18 inches in several communities. The storm set 17 county rainfall records and caused significant flooding along all six of the state’s river basins.

More than 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters in the days after Matthew, through the combined efforts of local rescuers, state organized swift-water rescue teams, FEMA swift water teams, the NC Helo-Aquatic Rescue teams and military rescue assets from North Carolina bases. More than 400 personnel, 77 boat teams and 12 aircraft were deployed as part of the state organized efforts. Countless other rescues were conducted by local law enforcement agencies and fire departments.

North Carolina’s coordinated rescue effort following Hurricane Matthew was recently recognized with the prestigious international Higgins and Langley Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Swift Water Rescue. Representatives from North Carolina rescue teams accepted the honor last month during the annual conference of the International Association of Water Rescue Professionals in South Bend, Indiana.

A year after Matthew, North Carolina continues working to recover from the storm, and communities need more help for full recovery. Gov. Cooper continues to work closely with the state’s congressional delegation to fight for additional federal funds to help the state recover fully, and will also work with legislators on any additional state funds needed.

To mark the storm’s one-year anniversary, Gov. Cooper and his cabinet secretaries will join volunteers for a Rebuild NC Day of Service on October 7 in Lumberton, Fayetteville, Princeville, Goldsboro and Kinston. To learn more including how to sign up to volunteer, visit