HCRU is a 40-member, all volunteer unit providing land and water search, rescue and recovery for Houston & surrounding Wiregrass counties.
In the 1960's, a tornado destroyed a home in Houston
Co, Alabama, and lifted its owner from his front porch into a nearby deep water pond. After the storm, neighbors came together to search the area—on foot and by boat. The search was disorganized, but it was the best they could do at the time. They also realized they had no way to search the pond itself. A local diver was called and, after three days of searching in 50 degree water, retrieved the victim and brought closure to his family. But the community leaders involved in this tragedy determined that the community owed its citizens a better response system. A few months later, the Houston County Rescue Unit was formed.
HCRU today is proud of a 48-year history of providing land and water search and rescue, disaster assistance and preparedness, and other types of needed support to government emergency personnel in Houston and surrounding counties in Alabama. The Unit also participates actively in mutual aid as requested by police, fire, and rescue units in nearby Georgia and Florida counties.
HCRU today has forty active members, all volunteers, and all lending diverse skills in land and water search, rescue and recovery expertise. Members meet monthly and train regularly to be prepared for area emergencies, disasters, and events. Much of the Unit equipment and
supplies comes from the members themselves.
Members often provide their personal watercraft and equipment to assist with searches, and members not traveling to callouts on the two HCRU vehicles pay
their own transportation costs. A major contribution is provided by the 10-person dive team—all of whom provide their own equipment, maintain their certifications and continue their education at their own cost, and pay
fees and transport costs for regular training events.
Perhaps best known for our dive team, members include a roster of some of the most highly trained divers in our area. Member credentials include Master Scuba Diver Trainers, Divemasters, and Instructors. Skills certification includes technical diving, cave diving, public safety diving, rescue diving, and much more.
HCRU also has a trained swift-water rescue team. Members volunteered their time and purchased their own equipment to become certified in this important but dangerous skill.
HCRU is there to evacuate citizens during floods, to clear trees after storms, to find and rescue boaters and rafters lost or stranded on our rivers, to find those lost in the woods, and to recover victims who drown each year in area waterways.
One of our major commitments is outreach to area schools and youth groups to provide water safety programs for children and their parents. HCRU will be there when tragedy occurs on land and underwater. But we do all that we can to emphasize the importance of safety, preparation (especially swimming classes) and diligence for children in the woods and on the water.
In addition to providing mutual aid support for communities in nearby Georgia and Florida, HCRU regularly serves the following Alabama communities: Dothan, Ozark, Webb, Ashford, Cottonwood, Kinsey, Wicksburg,Eufaula, Geneva, Hartford, Gordon, Columbia, Slocomb, Samson, Andalusia, Ariton, Abbeville, Headland, Enterprise, and Ft. Rucker.