AFD hosts disaster training

Over a dozen fire fighters from various special operation units spent their Saturday in a disaster zone trying to save lives. The objective: Rescue two victims from inside a concrete structure.

"They've been given a task, a scenario in this parking garage/residential prop." Captain Travis Maher, of the Austin Fire Department's Special Operations Division. "Putting shoring up on the exterior of the prop. They will breach the prop to make their way in, and then they will shore the interior of the prop, make access with the victims and then package the victims and bring the victims out."

The drill simulates one of the most unpredictable situations a fire fighter can face: A collapsed structure.

"It's very dangerous because you are dealing with structures that have been compromised that we don't know, a lot of times, to what extent. So it is somewhat of a game as far as trying to make a best of a bad situation," Maher said.

A situation the Austin, San Antonio, and Rio Grande Valley fire departments have spent the past week training for.



"We regionally are training together so when we have an event and we all have to come together to mitigate a disaster site, we've practiced together and we have those relationships built ahead of time," AFD Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr said.

So if a disaster does strike, the units will know what to do and how to do it together.   

"When we have a large disaster you're going to have to collaborate and work together." Chief Kerr said. "We don't ever want it to ever happen but it can happen and it probably will happen so we want to be prepared."

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