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Disaster-zone rescuers train in abandoned building

Published: 2:50PM Tuesday May 21, 2013 Source: ONE News

Members of the Urban Search and Rescue team have taken part in an earthquake simulation exercise as they gear up to become certified to be deployed to disaster zones overseas.

More than 20 firefighters and seven paramedics have finished a three-week course with a three day exercise at the abandoned Longburn freezing works in Palmerston North. The exercise simulates rescues from a collapsed five-storey building, designed to replicate an earthquake disaster zone. 

The exercise has been supported by incident commanders, logistics staff and rescue dogs and their handlers. The team's first newly-trained cadaver dog has also taken part.

The team is gearing up to become internationally certified for deployment overseas in times of disaster, such as the 2011 earthquake in Japan or the devastating 2009 tsunami in Samoa. 

The team is hoping to gain certification through the United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group which will prepare it to deploy overseas, under the United Nations umbrella, to disasters in the Pacific, Australia and South East Asia.


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