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'Collapsed' structure provides disaster training for Utah first responders

Posted at 11:15 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 14:51:24-04

BLUFFDALE, Utah — The Utah National Guard and the state's emergency responders have a new tool to prepare for urban disasters.

Called the Collapsed Structure Venue at Camp Williams, the hope is that this sort of training is never needed. But since Utah sits on a very active seismic fault, there’s a decent chance this collapsed structure training may be needed at some point.

Teams said this structure, which is the first of its kind in Utah, allows them to be better prepared.

Army National Guard officials secured the funding a few years ago, then had the structures shipped out to Camp Williams. They were then assembled to recreate rescue operations in a collapsed structure, whether it be from an earthquake, other natural disasters or some sort of terrorist incident.

It allows crews to simulate working in confined spaces and act very quickly.

“We have to make sure everything is shored up properly and won’t collapse or roll on us, then we go in and rescue people in a really tight environment,” said Sgt. Travis Pharmer with the Army National Guard, Homeland Response Force

“For this group to have the facilities that allows us to be better prepared for that stuff, we’re ready to go and this is what we need, these facilities for so we’re better prepared and we’re well trained,” added Bryan Case with Unified Fire and Utah Task Force One.

Even though the structure has been four years in the making, cutting the ribbon Tuesday made it an official testing site.

Army National Guard officials will be using it on a regular basis to train with their civilian counterparts from fire agencies around the state and throughout the region.