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Monday, September 9, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and Lexington County Emergency Medical Services personnel with the Lexington County Joint Swift-Water and Flood Rescue and Recovery Team (JRRT) will conduct training at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 12 at Flotilla Island on Johnson Marina Road on Lake Murray in order to enhance their ability to use short-haul rescue equipment that is operated onboard the Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said officers will conduct training in which they will use short-haul rescue equipment that is deployed onboard the Sheriff’s Department helicopter. The equipment enables deputies to use the agency’s helicopter to rescue persons who need help in waterways or isolated, flooded areas in Lexington County. SCE&G bought the short-haul rescue equipment that is deployed onboard the Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

JRRT members use short-haul rescue equipment to strap injured persons into a cinch- collar rescue device that is lifted to a helicopter from a waterway so that injured persons can be transported by helicopter in order to obtain medical treatment, Metts said.

The training with the short-haul rescue equipment will be conducted at Flotilla Island on a peninsula on Lake Murray that is at the end of Johnson Marina Road in the Ballentine community, Metts said. The facility is utilized by a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla and the Lake Murray Power Squadron.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation’s Public Safety and Security Institute awarded a $10,000 grant to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation to finance training for the JRRT, Metts said.

The Sheriff’s Foundation is a non-profit group that pays for equipment, training and other items that the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department has difficulty acquiring through the normal governmental budget process, Metts said.

The Sheriff’s Department and county Emergency Medical Services formed the JRRT in June 2011, Metts said. The Lexington County Fire Service Emergency Response Team joined the JRRT in January 2012. The team is available to rescue persons whose safety is in jeopardy in Lake Murray, the Saluda River, Congaree River, North Edisto River and other bodies of water in Lexington County.

The swift-water and flood rescue team includes EMS marine paramedics and members of the Sheriff’s Department Dive Team, Lake Murray Marine Patrol and Aviation Unit, Metts said. Rescue team members have received training in helicopter aquatic rescue operations, boating safety, dive operations and swift-water and flood rescue.

Members of the Sheriff’s Department Dive Team were the first law enforcement officers in the Midlands to attain certification in the Law Enforcement Diver Phase III course and attain the Master Diver rating administered by Scuba Schools International (SSI), Metts said.

Dive Team members attained certification by demonstrating proficiency in performing emergency rescue diving, recovering evidence underwater, using metal detectors underwater and diving at night and in conditions in which visibility is limited, Metts said. Divers also demonstrated proficiency in using a compass to navigate underwater.

The swift-water and flood rescue team is equipped with two jon boats, one all-terrain vehicle and one four-wheel-drive vehicle.

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