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Oklahoma Soldiers Train For Mass Disasters, Rescues

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Since 1999, Response International Group has taught more than 10,000 how to rescue others from debris. Since 1999, Response International Group has taught more than 10,000 how to rescue others from debris.
More than 70 U.S Army National Guard members from 13 states are taking part in a basic extraction class. More than 70 U.S Army National Guard members from 13 states are taking part in a basic extraction class.
Response International Group's basic class is taught in Oklahoma City.  A more advanced course is offered at Camp Gruber. Response International Group's basic class is taught in Oklahoma City. A more advanced course is offered at Camp Gruber.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A retired Oklahoma firefighter had the idea for a company that would specialize in mass rescues.

And since the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, he's covered a lot of ground.

People from all over the country come to a site in Oklahoma City or another in Eastern Oklahoma at Camp Gruber for training that can save lives.

More than 70 U.S Army National Guard members from 13 states are taking part in a basic extraction class.

Since 1999, Response International Group has taught more than 10,000 how to rescue others from debris.

"Any type of collapse, any type of natural disaster, yes, they're going to be a very large multiplier for what they can do for the local authorities," training manager DeWayne Torres said.

Since debris piles after a tornado or building collapse are often inaccessible for heavy equipment, they teach students basically how to do more with less, using only a few hand tools and whatever they can find in the debris pile.

"It's kind of MacGyvering how to use the debris that's around you and get all the people out as quick as you can," general manager Mike Shannon said.

For example, with a pry bar and good leverage, a 200-pound man can lift 2,000 pounds a few inches, which could be enough to free someone who is trapped.

"There's many students that come through here and say, ‘I never would have believed we could have done that, move a 5,000-pound block with just a few people," Torres said.

But it can be done.

"Now they can work smarter and safer and be more efficient," Shannon said.

Since the chance of survival for someone trapped in debris drops significantly after the first hour, students have to learn how to work quickly.

"Get them out before crush syndrome, or other situations get them, is the challenge of the race you're against and any first responder has," Shannon said.

Response International Group's basic class is taught in Oklahoma City.

A more advanced course is offered at Camp Gruber.

Also in the course offered, students learn how to rescue people from rubble who may have chemical contamination.

Classes are offered to military and emergency workers only. For information, click here.

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