BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland National Guard and local first responders joined together on Wednesday for training ahead of hurricane season.

During training, the Maryland National Guard pulled one of their own from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

It’s a drill for the Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (HART) which brings the Maryland National Guard and first responders from multiple counties together.

“Having the ability to put a helicopter on station for somebody in distress is priceless for what we do,” Robert Stanton, of the HART Rescue Team, said.

HART Rescue Team Manager Mike Berna said there are only about eight teams like his nationwide; trained to deploy anywhere as a single unit.

“We build the capability, and by us coming together and working like this every quarter,” Berna said. “It mends and builds a network. That’s how we become resilient in our state.”

Last year, the Maryland HART Rescue Team saved dozens of lives in North and South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Now that a new hurricane season has begun, water rescue drills are meant to keep the team sharp.

“When you move from the classroom to an actual live environment in safety of a blue sky day where there’s plenty of other emergency teams around, it really gets everybody familiar with the equipment,” Maryland National Guard Brigadier General Adam Flasch said. ”

The need for seamless response could come at any time during hurricane season.

“We work for the governor, so if he determines that our resources are needed in another state or locally, we can deploy within 12 hours,” Stanton said.

The HART Team comes together quarterly for training whether inside the classroom or in the water.


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