SALINA — The training is intense at Crisis City, a hands-on All Hazards Emergency Response Training Center west of Salina. Great Bend Fire Department sent five firefighters for training on Tuesday, and five more on Wednesday, Capt. Travis Parmley said.
The scenario simulated a large-scale gas explosion in a downtown area. A building had collapsed and people needed to be rescued. First responders conducted response operations at the concrete rubble pile, gas pipeline and other training venues at Crisis City.
Great Bend Fire Department is a member of a regional response team known as Kansas Task Force 5. It could respond to a regional disaster in south-central Kansas (Region 5). “We work with members of departments from Arkansas City, Hutchinson, Newton, Sedgwick County, Wellington and Wichita,” Parmley said.
The 10 GBFD firefighters who attended have received an additional 80 hours of training in responding to structural collapses as part of their Kansas Task Force 5 responsibilities.
“This was a great opportunity for GBFD members to train with their partners in KSTF5 in a real-time scenario,” Parmley said.
“Salina area responders were the first to arrive and soon realized the need for additional resources; thus, state level teams were deployed to the scene.” Members of the task force were faced with rescuing simulated patients from high angles and low angles, breaching or breaking concrete and other obstacles, conducting tech searches and using cranes.
The exercise prepares crews from several departments to see how effectively they can manage a coordinated mission at the state and regional level.
When the KSTF5 is deployed, members use special equipment, including radios with a shared frequency. Other equipment is spread among the teams. Great Bend has tools for concrete breaching and breaking.
“On the local level, citizens should be proud to know we have department members that are part of a skilled and specialized team in the state of Kansas,” Parmley said. “When an emergency involving rescue occurs in our community, we have qualified people with quality tools and equipment to take care of the operations. However, in the event the scale was too large for the GBFD to handle, KSTF5 along with other state resources would be requested.”
This is the third time Great Bend has sent firefighters to Crisis City, and each time the task force has come away with a better understanding of a coordinated response with other agencies, Parmley said. Others who attended the training this week were Capt. Eric Yoder, Capt. Kevin Stansfield, Capt. Mark Pohlman, Capt. Luke McCormick, and firefighters Michael Reifschneider, Dustin Spore, Matt Petersen, Tony Leeds and Mike Smith.
See more Crisis City photos at the training center's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crisis-City-Kansas/117008827913.