Emergency Crews in New York Trained for Collapses in College Station

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TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY Many of the hundreds of first responders working the collapse in New York learned how to respond to disasters in College Station. Texas A&M's Engineering Extension Service or TEEX uses Disaster City to train thousands of emergency personnel every year.

From firefighters to emergency management, TEEX has worked with nearly every agency.

"It's an engineered structure. It looks like chaos," said David Martin, Rescue Programs Director. It's chaos with a purpose. Training emergency responders to find and rescue those trapped in the rubble. A scenario happening right now in New York.

Martin and TEEX trained most of New York's first responders. The New York Fire and Police departments have sent crews down to train. Those teams deployed Wednesday morning when a multi-story building collapsed and caught fire.

"Initially, their challenge is one of rescue," said Martin.

"When you have a collapse of a building this size, you have a large area that you have to secure. You have to make sure you've gotten out all the potential victims," he continued.

A fire burning at the site complicates matters. The collapse could have weakened nearby buildings as well.

"They'll be using structural engineers to help them assess the structural integrity of the building and what needs to be done or can be done to help make it safer for rescuers to go in and start the search process," said Martin.

Rescue operations will continue for days. Martin says those overseeing the operation trained in TEEX's Emergency Operations Training Center. The state-of-the-art facility can be programmed to match current resources in most cities.

Real world training that's being put to use in New York. TEEX trains year-round. An Emergency Operations Center training course will be held at end of this month.