There have been a string of deadly earthquakes around the world in the last several years. The most recent earthquake in Nepal took the lives of thousands of people there. The older buildings in the overcrowded cities there crumbled like dominoes going down and trapped thousands underneath the rubble they produced. Those people that were trapped in the rubble’s main hope of rescue were from the quick response of highly trained urban search and rescue teams. Let’s take a little closer look at these first responders who play such a critical role in saving lives after a disaster strikes.
It is important to keep in mind that urban search and rescue teams are not only needed after earthquakes; 9/11 brought that reality home all too clearly. Building collapses, fires, terrorist bombings, tornadoes and other catastrophic events can happen suddenly and without warning. When they do, the difference between life and death often falls into the hands of these highly specialized individuals.
In countries like our own, the training can be pretty intense to say the least; the men and women that perform this role are usually extremely fit and well suited for the physical rigors of the job. In the USA, all certified search and rescue training is conducted by FEMA. The training consists of hundreds of hours spent doing such things as handling the canines that help sniff out survivors, rigging apparatus to move heavy objects and, of course, performing rescues in collapsed buildings.
Many members of urban search and rescue teams are also Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s). To become certified as an EMT takes a lot of coursework and on the job training in and of itself. These first responders not only need to be able to free people from whatever structure they are trapped in, but often they have to apply urgent medical attention to the victims as well.
Canines play a major and important role in urban search and rescue. They help the rescuers quickly identify areas where people most likely are trapped; seconds can often mean the difference between life and death when a structure collapses on someone and these dogs help bridge the time gap significantly. The breeds that are most often used are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Golden Retrievers and Border Collies; these breeds of dogs are used because of their strong so called “toy drive.” They are actually trained by playing hide and seek games with real people who run and hide with toys and then play with the animals when the dogs find them. The training is remarkably effective by the time it comes for the dogs to do the real thing.
When disaster strikes, these urban search and rescue teams respond, oftentimes, by selflessly putting their own lives in danger. They do this without being asked and largely without any fanfare for what they have done. We are truly lucky to have these types of skilled personnel standing by to aid us when disaster strikes.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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