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Disaster Training Facility Stands As Symbol Of Regional Cooperation

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Natural disasters like tornadoes in Missouri and Tennessee present special challenges for rescue workers.

A new facility in Raleigh prepares rescue workers for disasters that trap victims under tons of concrete and steel. The center can prove a benefit to the Triangle region.

The new training facility is run by the Raleigh Fire Department. Buit it also brings together firefighters from Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Raleigh city manager Russell Allen called it a symbol of regional cooperation.

"The theory is that we should be training together for disasters that might strike our region," Allen said, "that we should not be doing that individually. It's too expensive to get all the equipment, to get all the training."

Trained rescuers were needed last summer in Greensboro when a wall under construction collapsed and killed three workers. Three years ago, a pedestrian bridge at Lowes Motor Speedway fell and hurt more than 100 people.

And rescuers in training don't need to be reminded of the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Centers.

"These guys have made comments that we're just getting a little taste of what they had to go through during the collapse," said Capt. Michael Cooper, Raleigh USAR Coordinator.

If huge disasters visit the state, Emergency Management can mobilize several Urban Search and Rescue teams, including this one in the Triangle. They'll come with chippers and saws and the experience of working together.


Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Paul Ensslin, Web Editor

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