Nichols uses grant to buy two new rescue boats; clears ditches ahead of hurricane season

Pee Dee

NICHOLS, S.C. (WBTW) — The Town of Nichols is making sure its ready for anything ahead of another hurricane season.

The town’s fire department just got new equipment — including two rescue boats — that could save lives.

“We’re excited and we’re thrilled to death it has occurred,” Nichols Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jimmy Collins said.

He called the two boats a dream come true.

The set gives the fire department a much needed tool to rescue people should there be another flood. It’s the first time Nichols has had equipment like this. The new gear will also be helpful for river rescues.

“We didn’t have none of this equipment,” Chief Collins said. “We had to rely on other people to do it. And it wasn’t that bad, but still you feel obligated to the town to get equipment and help them out.”

The boats were purchased entirely with a grant that totaled over $250,000. The grant also covered a brand new squad truck, that is equipped with extrication and medical tools.

Nichols saw catastrophic flooding during Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

“It was an experience I would not wish on anyone else,” resident Natasha Washington said, who lived in Nichols during both hurricanes. She said the new rescue boats provided her peace of mind.

“Just to know you have someone you can go to in a situation of that magnitude,” she said.

The town has also just completed mapping all of its drainage ditches to make them easier to manage. Ahead of hurricane season, town crews are working to get them all cleared out.

“If I can get the ditches to where they flow good, they’ll have a better impact on floodwater and get it out of town,” machine operator for the town Blake Stroud said. “Maybe it won’t flood as bad.”

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