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    Perfecting rescue techniques to save lives

    Technical Rescue Conference

    Photo By Sgt. Zachary Sheely | Approximately 170 first responders from across Kansas met at Crisis City located near...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Zachary Sheely 

    Kansas Adjutant General's Department

    SALINA, Kan. - Shards of broken glass litter the ground as cars, tractor trailers and a school bus lie tangled in the twisted-metal network of a massive highway pileup near a collapsed building, reduced to a pile of rubble. An unknown number of people are trapped – and time is the enemy.

    Enter the rescue experts.

    Teams, known as task forces, consisting of first responders and fire fighters from across Kansas gathered at Crisis City near Salina, Kansas, Oct. 7-9 to participate in the eighth annual Kansas Technical Rescue Conference and hone their rescue skills in realistic scenarios designed to test their nerve and teach them new techniques.

    Covered in protective gear and armed with hydraulic cutters and spreaders – aka Jaws of Life – saws and rescue drills, the first responders mission is to safely rescue people who are buried in the wreckage and debris. Precision, delicacy and expertise are needed in a time of chaos.

    It’s a skill that requires practice and teamwork.

    “We have an opportunity to put in scenarios that we can’t do back home,” said Bill Schneider, Olathe Fire Department fire captain. “This allows us to bring everybody to a central location, get them working with people they may not see all the time, but when the disaster hits, they might be working with a guy they’ve seen out here and they know the capability of that guy and they feel a little more comfortable working with them.”

    Joe Pruitt, Crisis City manager/program consultant, said that the conference grows in size and scope each year as approximately 170 emergency response personnel participated this year. The scenarios included technical rope rescue, trench/confined space rescue operations, structure collapse rescue, vehicle and machinery rescue, K9 search operations, disaster medical operations and disaster response for the first responder.

    Schneider said that most fire departments lack the infrastructure and facilities to accommodate these large-scale exercises.

    “The opportunity to come out here in an isolated environment and work a little slow and then built up is a great opportunity for us and we just can’t replicate it back home,” he said.

    Situated on approximately 44 acres, Crisis City, which is part of the Great Plains Joint Training Center, features a collapsed structure/rubble pile, disabled rail and aircraft venue, urban village, technical rescue tower and other training areas.

    It’s a one-of-a-kind facility in the region that provides an ideal learning environment for cooperation among task forces.

    “Crisis City is comparable to nowhere,” said Pruitt. “It gives the military and first responders a venue that’s got so many capabilities and gives them a spot to train with real-world experience. It brings together teams from all over the state. This gives them the unity and trust to work together.”
    Building that trust could prove paramount in an actual disaster response.

    “It’s a proud moment to be able to say that the service we’re providing to these individuals will save somebody’s life in the future,” said Pruitt. “It’s a great feeling to be able to say that first responders can take a little bit of Crisis City back home with them.”



    Date Taken: 10.08.2015
    Date Posted: 10.09.2015 14:04
    Story ID: 178592
    Location: SALINA, KS, US 
    Hometown: HAYS, KS, US
    Hometown: LAWRENCE, KS, US
    Hometown: OLATHE, KS, US
    Hometown: SALINA, KS, US
    Hometown: WICHITA, KS, US

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