ESSEX, Md. (WJZ) — When a hurricane hits or major flooding traps residents, Maryland’s HART Team is the operation you can depend on to come to your rescue.

Monique Griego was there as they practiced real-life rescue scenarios Wednesday.

Dangling in the air, ready to be hoisted into a waiting helicopter is probably a position most people don’t expect–or at least hope–to be in. But it’s exactly the type of emergency Maryland’s HART, or Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, is training for.

“We’re trying to put together different scenarios so that if the need arises, we can effectively operate,” said Lt. Paul Massarelli, Baltimore County Fire Department.

HART is made up of teams from the Baltimore County police and fire departments, and the Maryland National Guard. Wednesday at the Back River near Essex Sky Park, WJZ was in the air as they practiced various water rescue scenarios, training that has recently come in handy.

HART was created in 2008 in response to the widespread flooding caused by Hurricane Isabel back in 2003.

“That was one of the biggest rescues that we had in the lower end of the county and if that should ever happen again now, these agencies are trained together. We can more effectively rescue people down here,” he said.

The most important part of this training is preparing three agencies to work together and save lives on a moment’s notice.

“It’s important in a state with so much water. We never know when the guard is going to be called in to help local resources,” said Major General James Adkins.

The HART team gets together every three months but only does a major training session like this once a year.

Rescue scenarios were also practiced in Kingsville and the Gunpowder River.


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