A look behind the scenes at where Ohio Task Force 1 trained for Surfside mission

As Ohio Task Force 1 continues to work 12-hour shifts in Florida at the site of last month’s Champlain Towers collapse, News Center 7 got a look behind the scenes at the site where the Vandalia-based FEMA task force trains.

At the Dayton Fire Training Center, large piles of broken concrete, mangled metal and old vehicles provide a space for the team to train for the type of urban search and rescue missions they’re on this week.

“Training is everything,” said Capt. Brad French, Dayton Fire Department, the sponsoring agency for Ohio Task Force 1. “We have this unique opportunity to have this really world class type of training facilities here.”

French said the training rubble includes heavy reinforced concrete, along with “nooks, crannies and spaces” where the team can perfect their search for victims – an opportunity to use their listening devices, cameras and equipment designed to lift heavy concrete.

“The more well trained (the task force) can be ahead of time, the better that response and the more efficient that response is going to be,” French said.

Ohio Task Force 1 deployed last Wednesday to assist with search and rescue in Surfside, Florida, where dozens of deceased victims have been located since the collapse June 24. The 82-member team is staying on board a cruise ship docked in the area, working 12 hours, followed by 12 hours of rest.

In an update Wednesday, OHTF1 said it plans to be in the Miami suburb at least several more days, but with no timetable at this point on its return.

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