BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kern County Fire Department ( KCFD) Search and Rescue responders are training to prepare for large-scale disasters. Responders came from seven different stations around the county for this specialized training, held at the Olive Drive Fire Training Facility in Bakersfield.
"We are going to try and save as many people as fast as we can," said Chief Brian Gaddis with the Kern County Fire Department.
After a disaster, there are three different levels of response that firefighters execute. The first phase, recon, is where responders evaluate the area’s condition, what resources are needed and deploy rescuers to evacuate victims. The second phase, primary, is where responders clear and mark each area while simultaneously rescuing as many people as possible. The third phase is called secondary, where teams extract people who are trapped and need an extensive rescue that may include situations like drilling or breaking concrete.
Each firefighter in these live drills have gone through five months of specialized rescue training for disaster situations. Once they complete the live drills they will be certified as part of the rescue operations.
Gaddis said, “We are setting up a team so that we can focus on providing the rescues here locally for Kern County citizens here, first and foremost. Along with that, while we provide training here locally, if there is an assistance needed for a jurisdiction nearby, then we would be able to respond to that jurisdiction and provide help."
This is just one component of the KCFD training sessions. Responders are going to continue training throughout the entire year and their next session will be simulated live drills of the third phase, known as secondary.