Swiftwater technicians from Mississippi at Claytor Lake State Park to help with needed rescues

Task Force will help 5 surrounding counties

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Several first responders from out of state are now stationed across the region. This includes members of the Los Angeles Fire Department in Henry County, as well as a task force from Mississippi at Claytor Lake State Park.

A group of 44 people makes up the Mississippi State Task Force. They're all swiftwater technicians from different fire departments and agencies across the state. They were called to come to Virginia to help with whatever Florence brings our way. 

"Getting a view of the area before we have to go into where to respond. So we've been looking at all the trouble spots in the area. Yesterday we did in-service training and we put the boat in the water," said Will Lewis, task force member. 

The task force is trained in all levels of swiftwater, technical rescues and special operations.

"For one, we have hills here, which is different. A lot of elevation changes. A lot of the water here goes to a single place in the end," said Lewis. 

They're checking equipment, mapping their response area and meeting with local emergency officials. 

"We're covering at least the five counties in the area, but we can be pulled and sent to whatever location we need to," said Brad Robinson. 

The Mississippi State Task Force trains year-round for these types of weather events.