First Responders Face New Challenges

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This weekend marked the first official open enrollment course at the Hobet All Hazard Training Area.

First responders within the region and beyond were tasked with a wilderness search and rescue scenario involving an airplane crash.

In October 2018, it was announced that Hobet Mine would be transformed into a training site for first responders, military members, FEMA workers and other emergency personnel.

Today’s training course was designed to have two teams responsible in locating and retrieving eight dummies within a 250 acre area.

One Virginia fire captain who served as a team leader, Darren Trent said, “we have a large section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through our area, so this will be able to help us bring this knowledge back to our county and pass that along.”

Twenty-three first responders participated and had to quickly gather information, work through rough terrain, follow instruction through compass reading and maps and identify the victims in a timely manner.

“Even though it’s a training exercise, we never participated in something like this in our county, so it’s going to be a lot of moving parts we’re responsible for. As one crew leader, I got three ATVs and 11 personnel on my crew alone, so that’s going to be an interesting challenge to overcome,” said Trent.

Today’s training course was organized by the West Virginia National Guard and Spec Rescue International.

More rescue training courses are planned for later this spring and summer, including a swift water, large/small animal and rope rescue.

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