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Special group of Joplin firefighters train for unique disasters - KOAM TV 7

Special group of Joplin firefighters train for unique disasters

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A special group of Joplin firefighters trained today for a unique circumstance of disaster.  They are non-conventional emergency situations that require some extra ingenuity.

In this training for firefighters, you won't find fire extinguishers, hoses, or breathing apparatuses.  

"This is a much more complicated event," says Andy Nimmo, Safety Chief for Joplin's fire department.

That's because there's more analysis, done by a special group of 45 Joplin firefighters known as the department's Special Operations Team.  In a practice scenario done today, firefighters try to keep an unstable wall from falling down.

"Each situation is unique.  The building is not going to be true.  You get into an area where you've got a wall leaning out at 45 or a 30 degree angle, you've got to take into consideration those angles and things," says Jeff Turner, a member of the Special Op Team.

The team refers to manuals that help them put together a support, known as a raker system.

"They may have to measure angles, they may have to come up with the heights and distances and things that normally, we don't have to worry about on a regular fire scene," says Nimmo.

The training simulates a car crash into a building, a structure damaged by a tornado, or a home's roof collapsing because of too much snow.  Most of the time, walls have to be secure before emergency workers can enter the building.

Firefighters say in general, this type of training is for low frequency but high hazard events.  But the training is nonetheless important.

"If you don't use it, you lose it.  A concept on which we are always up on our training," says Turner.

It's taking the fire out of a firefighter's job.  But there's still a fighter so save lives.

Other training includes rope rescues off a cliff or water tower, rescues in a structure that's collapsed, and rescues in a trench.  The department's chief of safety hopes to also include outdoor search and rescue in the future.  This would include general searches for missing people.
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