Firefighters, canines train for extreme rescue situation - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Firefighters, canines train for extreme rescue situation

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Emergency responders from across the state of North Carolina were in our area on Saturday to receive hands on training by simulating a real life disaster.

Brunswick County Emergency Services hosted a structural collapse exercise at the intersection of Highway 211 and Highway 17 in Supply.

Different task force groups from across the state were on hand to develop different scenarios to provide various opportunities for training.

Several "training stations" were set up for responders to move in and out of different environments.

Brunswick County Emergency Services Director, Anthony Marzano says it is important for everyone on their staff to keep calm in the face of an emergency situation and be ready for anything.

"Bringing everybody together allows us to learn lessons before getting into the heat of battle and learning the hard way," said Marzano.

When responding to a building collapse, the first to go in is the canine unit, to sniff out any victims that may be lying under the rubble. First responders then follow suit.

"Collapse structure events are possible after hurricanes, tornadoes, gas explosions, any number of things," said Marzano. "So given that we don't have those that often, preparation and practice is key."

Thomas Meighan is a new firefighter. He's never had to put his skills to the test in a real life situation. But he says he's a much better firefighter after Saturday's training.

"It's making me more aware of what could go wrong in a building like this," said Meighan.

Marzano says this training couldn't have come at a better time.

"We're in tourist season," said Marzano. "People gather on decks and porches and we need to be ready in case something happens."

Over half a dozen fire departments from Brunswick County took part in the training exercise.

The next opportunity for training will take place on June 25th when the emergency operations center will host a hurricane simulation.

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