Hatteras Island Rescue is recognized for supporting the
Weather Service’s rip current forecasting
The Hatteras Island Rescue Squad has been awarded a certificate of
appreciation by the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C,
for the group’s help in the rip current forecasting program.
“As Meteorologist-in-Charge, I’d like to express my gratitude and that
of the entire staff of the National Weather Office in Newport for your
dedicated efforts to help support our rip current forecasting program,”
Richard Bandy said in a letter to the rescue squad. “The reports that
you and the entire staff of the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad provided
us throughout the season were extremely important for our rip current
forecasting and verification. Real time reports allow us to
better assess current threat levels and make adjustments as necessary.”
Bandy also noted that without the frequent and detailed reports from
HIRS, The Weather Service could not have built the database necessary
to improve the forecasts from the dangerous currents.
“Because of your efforts,” he wrote, “in the future we hope to better
identify the threat of rip currents and cut down on the frequency of
false alarms in predicting an elevated threat.”
“Hatteras Island Rescue worked closely this past summer with the
National Weather Service by providing daily, detailed reports of
rescues, observed rip currents, shorebreak, longshore current and
beachgoer population,” the squad’s assistant chief, Bob Helle, said in
a news release. “These daily reports give the NWS real time feedback
and aid in the next day’s rip current forecast.”
Of all the rescue agencies that participated in the daily reporting to
the NWS, Hatteras Island Rescue sent in the most reports –
Since the area of responsibility for Hatteras Island Rescue encompasses
both an east (north of Cape Point) and a south-southeast facing beach
(south of Cape Point), conditions can be radically different.
Helle said that Hatteras Island Rescue also conducted a total of 20
safety patrols on days when the rip threat was high. Although
formal "red flag" program exists on Hatteras Island, Hatteras Island
Rescue beach vehicles are outfitted with large red flags that are flown
on high threat days. These 20 safety patrols conducted during
June, July, and August totaled 49 hours (208 man hours).
During these patrols, rescue personnel warned 12 people who were either
digging or sitting in deep holes. Annually about a dozen people
nationwide are killed when the holes collapse. They also warned 18
swimmers that were too far out or swimming too close to an observed rip
current and answered hundreds of questions from "Can we have a
bonfire?" to "Where's a good place to eat?" and everything in between.
Within the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad’s area of responsibility – from
Ramp 30 to Hatteras Inlet -- there were no water-related fatalities
this past season.
During the last season, Hatteras Island Rescue reported the follow
Dispatched to assist Dare County EMS 67 times.
Dispatched to beach medical calls 21 times.
Conducted 11 water rescues in the Pamlico Sound.
Conducted 28 ocean rescues.
Responded to 26 motor vehicle accidents.
Dispatched to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for medical emergencies four
Responded to six missing/lost persons (on land).
Responded to children locked in cars four times.
Trained and certified 22 EMTs.
Trained and certified 113 persons in CPR/AED in monthly classes offered
to the public.
In June, Hatteras Island Rescue established a Facebook page.
has become a useful tool to quickly "get the word out" for increased
rip threat and Highway 12 flooding and closures, and also provided
real-time updates during Hurricane Earl. The squad now has
than 1,100 fans.
Hatteras Island Rescue is an all-volunteer organization.
“Thank you to all who responded to our annual fundraising letter,”
Helle said. “With your help, dedicated volunteers, and a
luck, we hope to have another successful year.”