Training Prepares Team For The Worst - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Training Prepares Team For The Worst

In a mock accident scene, the victim is buried beneath water and mud in a caved in trench.  Rescuers use a technique called a Phoenix system. 

Rescue Coordinator Corey Miller says, "And what it is is just a bunch of fin forms, plywood basically and you take struts and you pressurize both sides of the trench across the trench itself to gain access to the victim to safely take him out."

Knowing how to pull someone from a trench leads to the next level of training that the first responders must undergo.  FEMA pays for the training that is required for South Mississippi to keep its regional response team. 

"You have to know how to use your equipment inside the ground in a hole before you can go out there in a building that's collapsed and use it safely in that and that's what this does. This is the first of a series of training in this specialized type of rescue environment that we'll be doing," says Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan.

Michael Kelakios is a Hancock County sheriff's deputy whose duties don't normally include search and rescue, but he says he never knows what his job will throw at him. 

"When I was offered to come train here I decided, 'Hey, why not?' Because I knew I'd be able to help if I need to and just learn. A lot of time as a sheriff's deputy, we're first on scene and you've got to know what to do in case fire is five, ten, twenty minutes away. Got to be able to do something," Kelakios says.

The training was conducted by the LSU Fire Academy. The Regional Response Team is made up of firefighters and law enforcement officers from the six lower South Mississippi counties.

by Marcia Hill

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