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Disaster Drill - KOAM TV 7

Disaster Drill

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, KANSAS -

Kansas Task Force 4 is a local disaster response team comprised of members of multiple Kansas fire departments. They spent Thursday simulating their response to a tornado strike, an exercise that provides priceless, hands on training.

"Our job is based off of repetition. The more repetitions we can get, the better. For the last 3 to 4 years, our task force has been able to conduct an exercise like this, and I definitely believe it's putting us ahead of the game," said Kansas Task Force 4 member Andrew Johnston.

The team spent the day combing through rubble meant to simulate a collapsed building, and searching for victims. Task force members used GPS and the latest technology to locate and access victims.

"That technology lets us see exactly where they've been and what they saw. They can put markings in. We can overlay that on a map, and make sure we've covered everything," said Johnston.

The operation was run by Midwest Search and Rescue. They specialize in creating unique scenarios for response teams that often simulate life and death situations.

"It's one thing to practice skills. But when you add the element, even if it's a mannequin, to a scenario that's real and plausible, it creates a different stress level," said Midwest Search and Rescue President Jackie Miller.

The tornado strike exercise simulated a lot more than just physical operations. The chain of command and other organizational aspects were also tested. Fortunately for local Kansans, the trainers like what they're seeing from Kansas Task Force 4.

"I'm very impressed with Kansas Task Force 4. They have really made the effort to work together on their skills, leadership and teamwork," said Miller.

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