PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Hundreds of emergency response crews from all over the world are using the Guardian Centers of Georgia for one of the largest disaster scenarios the facility has ever hosted. Officials say it's the best training method for a real-life event they've ever experienced.
With winds blowing hard all morning long...it didn't make practice rescue missions any easier.
Batallion Chief Chris Schaff, with the Fairfax County Fire Department out of Virginia, wouldn't have it any other way.
"Being able to breach while they're on that rope which is extremely taxing both logistically and physically for the guys and gals working," Schaff said.
He and his team have been using the collapsed structures at the Guardians Centers of Georgia for hours. It's providing them a unique opportunity to practice and work on techniques and procedures they wouldn't normally use.
"It gives them the resources to go forward if there are true disasters, they'll pull the information that they gain here and put it into life into real action," Schaff said.
Tuesday was the second day of a week-long training mission designed to give urban search and rescue groups from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID and FEMA the opportunity to hone skills to better save lives.
Throughout the entire week, about 700 people will participate. A fraction of the 7,000 people the Guardian Centers can actually hold.
It's an experience officials say will best prepare crews if they're needed domestically or abroad.
"This is one tool in U.S.A.I.D.'s toolbox. It's urban search and rescue. It's not used frequently so it's one of the reasons that we require or use our teams to do an annual type training event," Dewey Perks with the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance said.
Founder and CEO Geoff Burkart wants it to stay this way. He thinks the best way to prepare emergency response crews so they can be best effective, is to provide a challenge.
"We like to be the clients best solution, it's not about Guardians Center it's about success," Burkart said.
Success the people these teams save and help will be thankful for.
This is the second out of five days of training for the response crews.
They started on Monday and plan on finishing up on Friday morning.
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