Nichols works to prevent flooding, prepares for hurricane season with new rescue equipment

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 7:20 AM EDT
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MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - After back-to-back floods from hurricanes Mathew and Florence, town leaders in Nichols are once again preparing for flooding from a storm.

The town is nestled between the Lumber River, which leaves Nichols at risk for flooding each hurricane season. But now the Nichols Fire Department has more tools than in the past to help them get to neighbors faster in case of another flood.

Nichols Fire Chief Jimmy Collins said he’s betting on new boats and a new ATV when it comes to search and rescue efforts after a flood.

Unlike trucks, Collins said the ATV can trek through the woods or creeks, and prevents crews from having to just search on foot.

The fire chief noted that having more of their own equipment is especially crucial because they won’t have to rely as much on other departments, and can start search and rescue efforts sooner.

“This cuts the time considerably. Because they’ve got to load up their equipment and get there, and Marion’s got to load theirs up and get there, so you’re talking 15 to 20 minutes. Right here, we’re surrounded by two bodies of water. And we can cut the time in half, in two,” Collins said.

Earlier this year, the department also received two boats, one for street flooding and the other for river flooding.

Collins said with the boats and now the ATV, they’re more prepared now than they ever have been for a flood.

“Hopefully not another flood or anything like that. But we can use it to get the people out, or if someone’s lost in the woods, we can take it, put some equipment on it, go and find them. Or if someone is injured we got a place to put a back board on it, and a person can sit there with them,” Collins said.

Day by day, Town Administrator Sandee Rogers said crews are clearing ditches so the water can flow easier and won’t get as backed up.

Rogers said they’ve just received a hydrology report with more details on how they can better prevent flood damage, including raising properties.

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