WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After being closed years ago and torn down, the old Judge Riddel Boys Ranch is now where first responders are undergoing life saving training. The departments, known as Task Force 5, don’t often get to work in environments like this until it’s a true emergency.
Members also say it’s an opportunity to get to know other rescuers on their team.
It’s only training, but, it looks very realistic. First responders jumping into action, to better learn how to save lives.
Kansas Task Force Five Coordinator Carl Cox says his team hammered their way through the drill.
“To actually be able to break concrete, knock walls down, tunnel in to an actual collapsed structure is a very rare opportunity in a training environment,” said Carl Cox, Kansas Task Force 5 Coordinator.
Cox says the team made up of Wichita, Derby, Great Bend, and other area firefighters worked through different scenarios — including one where an earthquake brought down this building. They used search cameras and listening devices to help them locate and rescue trapped victims. Something, they say, is important to practice.
“When we show up, you expect us to know what we’re doing and be good at our jobs,” said Breck Heller, Hutchinson Fire Department.
And also – know how to protect their team.
“It’s a live building, so any mistakes that happen could be detrimental,” said Heller.
This building at the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch was knocked down last week to prepare for the three-day training. Cox says they want to give all crews the chance to work in these conditions.
“Kansas is not immune to those so any of those situations could cause an event like we trained on today,” said Cox.
Cox says each day, they will do the same exercises and they’re mixing the departments because in emergency situations, there’s a good chance they will be working with different people.