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During Hurricane Florence in Sept. 2018, Polk County went through a natural disaster never seen before. Polk County had to rely on outside resources to save our own citizens. These agencies had extended response time due to there being no access to certain areas OR the agencies were busy handling their own county. Columbus stepped up to fill the gap that the county desperately needed. Columbus Special Operations Team was formed. Within a year, Columbus went from "medical rescue" to "heavy rescue" Columbus went from the lowest certification to the highest rescue certification a department can achieve in the sate of NC. "Heavy rescue" means we carry more equipment than normal so we can be self-sustained on a rescue calls.. 


The Special Operations Team has personnel with training, skills, and experience as well as equipment, to handle various types of incidents, including:

  • Ropes Rescue

  • Swiftwater Rescue

  • Heavy Extrication

  • Hazardous Materials

  • Drone Operations

  • CBRN (Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense)

  • Search and Rescue Company

  • Rehab


The team operates out of Rescue 22 which is housed at Station 1. Columbus holds the Special Operations Team members to a high standard. Team members are required to have TR:Ropes General and a specialty. The team has a Rescue Captain and two team leaders who oversee the members.

In 2020, Columbus purchased it's first ever heavy rescue truck. Captains from every shift and Chief, flew to Pearl River, NY to look at a heavy rescue truck. The truck is a 1991 Spartan Eurospace/Salisbury walk through heavy rescue. This truck served in the Bronx for weeks during 9/11. The truck arrived back in Columbus, NC the next day. Crews worked tirelessly and had the truck in service the next day. The truck also ran it's first call on i26 W 64mm with a box truck rear ending a tractor trailer an hour after being placed in service.


The heavy rescue truck was named "Rescue 22". Rescue 22 is housed at Station 1 (100 South Peak St, Columbus, NC, 28722)

Rescue 22 continues to respond throughout the county as a rescue company. 

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