August 30, 2005
South Carolina has a special COBRA Response Team and the Emergency Management Department put them on standby Tuesday morning. If they go, close to twenty-five law enforcement and Emergency Management officials will be sent to help with cleanup. News 12 is on your side with how their special skills can help disaster areas.
Hurricane Katrina has left it’s mark on Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida and as people sort through the damage, help is much needed.
It’s possible fourteen COBRA teams from South Carolina will help with the effort.
“It’s a mess down there and as far as law enforcement side we’d be going to assist law enforcement because by now they’re worn out,” said Bobby Wilson, Aiken County Sheriff’s Department.
COBRA is a team formed to respond to instances of weapons of mass destruction. Members including hazmat specialists, emergency services and law enforcement.
“To be able to mass decon and medical treatment and hazmat operations and there’s also law enforcement to provide security to team,” said Phil Clarke, EMS Director.
COBRA response member Captain Bobby Wilson is part of law enforcement. After joining three years ago, he had no idea COBRA could be called to help with hurricane relief.
“I couldn’t understand what realm hurricane disaster falls within COBRA mission, I can see where statewide, nationwide, mutual aid with COBRA as National Guard could,” Wilson said.
Two trailers full of equipment are behind the Sage Mill Fire Department, complete with air packs, hazmat shelters, generators and even ATV’s.
“I think they would probably welcome as much help as they can get right now, they’re inundated with disaster and calls for help,” Wilson said.
Help that Hurricane Katrina’s victims need and that Aiken County is ready to give.
The COBRA team says they do not know when or if they will be called to help. But, if they do go they will be there for at least a week.