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Firefighters participate in earthquake drill
Story and video from Patrick Young, public information officer with Clallam County Fire District 3
Western Washington has just experienced a large earthquake, buildings have collapsed and people are trapped in the rubble. That was the scenario on Tuesday, June 5, at the Clallam County Fire District 3 Training Grounds. Fifty emergency responders and four disaster search dogs participated in the drill called Clallam Evergreen. The drill was held in conjunction with Washington State’s Evergreen Quake Exercise that is designed to test the response capabilities of government and public safety agencies around the state.
The participants of the Clallam drill included members of FEMA Region 2-Task Force 1’s Technical Rescue Team. The members of the team work for different Clallam and Kitsap-based public safety agencies that combine to provide services during disasters. The team’s mission is to provide highly specialized technical rescue to communities during the first 48-72 hours of a disaster. Northwest Disaster Search Dogs (www.ndsd.net) also sent four handlers and their K-9 partners to participate in the drill and were used to help find the “victims” that volunteered to be trapped in the rubble.
The drill tested the different capabilities of the team. These capabilities included rescuing victims from building rubble, underground and elevated structures and other unusual locations. The teams also had the opportunity to use tools to breach concrete and steel and employed search techniques to find people using listening devices, cameras and the search dogs. The drill lasted eight hours and allowed all of the participants to experience each of the specialized scenarios.
Fire District 3 has extensive training grounds in Carlsborg that include a four-story tower, underground pipe network, propane fire props and structures that simulate residential and commercial buildings. The training ground was opened for operation in 2008 and provides unique training opportunities for both fire and rescue groups as well as law enforcement agencies.