MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - First responders in Montgomery County gave FOX 5 a close-up look at the training process for rescuers who go into dangerous missions like the one happening right now at the collapsed condo in Surfside, FL.
They're a team specially trained to find people who could be stuck under debris or in pockets of rubble.
The process requires training, special equipment to break up concrete into smaller pieces and often uses cameras and listening devices, not to mention the help of dogs who can sniff out signs of human life.
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"We learn how to address that rubble pile, how to listen to that rubble pile for signs and sounds of an entrapped victim," Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said. "How to then make that rubble pile stable or make that rubble pile smaller so that we can make access to somebody who is in a survivable state in that building that collapsed or fell down."
Chief Goldstein, who actually deployed with this kind of team to the Oklahoma City bombing, says someone can survive for seven to 10 days underneath rubble. From then on, it would likely turn into a recovery mission.
This team--Maryland Task Force One--has deployed to natural disasters all across the country through a partnership with FEMA. They’ve been to the Pentagon on 9/11 and more recently the Flower Branch Explosion in Silver Spring. One of the technicians showed us how they use a special camera to look for victims.
"Before we do any kind of moving of debris or breaching or breaking we're gonna take a look see if there's any victims or hazards before we go cutting," said William Bryant, a firefighter at Montgomery County Technical Rescue. "We don't want to encounter a victim on the other side of our cut."
Teams like this one here are already assisting in Florida. Depending on how long the mission lasts Montgomery County's team could be called up.