Disaster Response Team

This unit responds to assist other cities throughout South Carolina and the Southeast in natural disaster situations. The Disaster Response Team is a standing unit of officers ready to pack-up and travel on short notice. They were formed after Hurricane when Charleston received much-needed assistance from other police departments. The team is self-sufficient, taking along its own:

  • Command Post
  • Equipment Based on Needs of the Specific Disaster
  • Food and Cooking Facilities
  • Power Supply
  • Special Purpose Vehicles

Over the years, the team has deployed to Hurricane Andrew (both Homestead, Florida and Louisiana), Tornadoes in Lexington, South Carolina, several hurricanes in Wilmington, North Carolina, and even the Caribbean (with transport from the USAF). Most recently, elements of the unit responded to the Aiken train derailment. 


Their mission was to provide substantial meals for the emergency service personnel on scene. The team prepared and served over 3300 meals to firefighters, police, deputies, troopers, medics, and others. The Police Environmental Response Unit (PERU) team at the time also responded, directly assisting in the contaminated area. Even animal control units came to assist with needs of evacuees' pets.


Numerous equipment and vehicle types may be employed, based on the mission, including but not limited to:

  • Aircraft (to aid in disaster assessment and search and rescue)
  • Civil Disturbance Unit
  • Explosive Devices Unit
  • M113 APC (tracked vehicle to travel impassable roads)
  • Military Hummers (provide transport in rough terrain/washed-out roads)
  • Mobile communications unit (ensuring full radio capabilities)
  • Mobile cook-wagon (provide meals for the department and other emergency personnel)
  • Mobile power supply and light towers
  • Tractor trailers and box trucks (carry provisions and relief supplies)
  • Traffic Division
  • Two mobile command posts (with communications and weather satellite)
  • Various boats