USCG Air Station Traverse City Prepares for Potential Deployment to Hurricane Florence

As the southeastern United States braces for Hurricane Florence’s impact, U.S. Coast Guard crews from across the nation are getting ready for a potential deployment.

On Thursday, USCG Air Station Traverse City helicopters took to the sky in Grayling, more than a thousand miles away from Hurricane Florence’s path.

“If we get called down to go to the east coast then we will do that and the crews will be ready,” Lt. Commander Chris Enoksen, said.

It’s a mock town, looks more like the set of an action movie, but in great detail it replicates the uniqueness of an urban landscape.

“With the onset of hurricanes it’s a great training environment for us practicing around power lines, buildings and other urban hazards that are presented to the aircrews so having this training area greatly helps are situational awareness,” Enoksen, explained.

As pilots hover less than 100 feet from the tops of buildings, Coast Guard “Swimmers” repel down, rescuing “survivors” from rooftops, broken cars and fire escapes.

“Practicing some nontraditional hoisting, to simulate an urban disaster that we could get called in to, come in and evaluate and help save some people,’ Enoksen, said.

It’s a call this crew is ready for and this training will give them a leg up if it comes.

“Everybody is itching to go down and help and that’s just the nature of our service,” Enoksen, added.

“It’s part of our motto, “Semper Paratus,” always ready. When it comes to rescuing people whether it is a flood or hurricane scenario we look forward to the opportunity to train and be ready for those options,” Aviation Survival Technician Jon Houlberg, said.