WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A daring rescue mission deep inside a flooded cave in Thailand has grabbed the world's attention in recent weeks and all 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach are recovering after being pulled from the cave.
The 18-day ordeal, concluding with the dramatic, successful rescue, demonstrated the importance of first responders who put their lives on the line.
Believe it or not, similar training is available in Wilmington.
"We offer a variety of courses and training from mountaineering to rafting to backpacking in North Carolina to wilderness training for southern Chile to the Himalayan to deep Alaska," said Zac Adair with the National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education.
While it's not quite cave diving, the center located off River Road offers a variety of emergency medical courses to train students in real life search and rescue scenarios.
"These students come in with zero knowledge," Adair said. "They want to learn about emergency medicine so maybe they want to work for EMS. Maybe they are going to medical school or they are learning more about search and rescue."
Students who have received training at NCOAE have responded to wildfires in California, last summer's hurricanes and floods and numerous similar natural disasters.
"We see ambulances day in and day out," Adair said. "You never know when you need to be prepared for anything. Preparedness is key in any emergency or a natural disaster like a flood or mudslide or hurricane. We are preparing the students. When a patient is found, we can provide immediate care."
To learn more about what NCOAE has to offer, click here.