Land Bank’s Search and Rescue Connection

We take it for granted that firefighters know what to do when they rescue someone from a collapsed building – but how do they train for such a job?searchandrescuelogo
“Thanks to the Land Bank, we now can go into real collapsed homes for our training,” says Ron James, head of Urban Search and Rescue Operations for Region 2 (five counties in Northeast Ohio), the team that rescues people from collapsed structures.
A building might collapse after a flood or other natural disaster, a fire or a terrorist attack. Until now, James was forced to use simulated training sites. “It’s always been difficult to find real structures to train in,” he says. “Now we have access to real-life collapsed structures before they are demolished.”
But isn’t that dangerous?
firefighters“It is,” James says, laughing. “That’s why we train on it.” If James looks at the way a structure has collapsed, it gives him some idea of the danger involved in going inside. “There are lean-to collapses, pancake collapses where a building just falls straight down on itself, and several other kinds,” he explains. What’s unknown is what’s inside, such as refrigerators or beds, which allow people to survive because they create ‘livable space.'”
A building collapse, James adds, is a “low-frequency, high-danger event, so it’s very important to maintain our readiness. Getting inside actual, collapsing structures helps us stay prepared.”

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