Vermont water rescue team arrives in North Carolina

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As Hurricane Florence bears down on the southeastern United States, Vermont water rescue experts have headed south to provide disaster response aid.

Seventeen members of Vermont Task Force One arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, late Tuesday night, said Mark Bosma, information officer for the state's Department of Public Safety.

Members of the team will be on call for 10 days to rescue people who may become trapped in their homes during the hurricane and as the storm recedes, he said.

More than one million people in coastal regions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate in advance of the Category 4 storm's Friday landfall, according to CNN. The National Weather Service tweeted that Wednesday is the last day to evacuate before the hurricane starts to affect the region.

"The waves and wind in this storm may be like nothing you have ever seen," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. "Even if you've ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don't bet your life on riding out this monster."

Vermont's task force responded to a call put out through the nationwide emergency management assistance compact — a mutual aid agreement among states and territories that complements federal disaster response programs. The team was deployed last year to Texas to check on residents and assist with evacuation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, said Bosma.

While in Vermont, members of the team are most often called out to rescue swimmers from rivers and lakes. "If we're expecting some significant flooding in an area, we'll stage a team close by," added Bosma.

During Hurricane Irene in 2011, Vermont received assistance from other states through the compact.

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