Vigilant Guard 2021 kicks off with search and rescue missions in Clay County

Local News

CLAY COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Whether it’s searching through the forest or helping passengers overturn a car, search and rescue missions were underway Thursday at the All Hazards Training Center near Fola.

Anthony Rowe and the Special Operations Team of the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation used K-9 units and drones to help find people in the woods. He’s hoping these missions will help his team improve their efficiency when a real situation occurs.

“Help us to be a little bit quicker in what we’re doing because time’s always of the essence,” Rowe said. “Especially in a search and rescue.”

Later in the week, other agencies will work on rescuing people from dilapidated buildings and rescue animals in natural disaster missions.

Dwight Siemiaczko of the West Virginia National Guard says it’s important to work with other agencies to improve communication during a crisis.

“It’s important to figure it out now at this exercise,” he said. “We’re at Fola today, Summersville, Kanawha Falls later in the week to get together to train and build on what success we learn from here and from those processes we’ll put in place so next time we’re not figuring it out from day one.”

Using actual people as role players creates an authentic experience.

“When you’re out here doing the real thing, moulaging folks, patient packaging, you’re training as you’re fighting for a real-world mission,” Siemiaczko said.

Missions will continue throughout the week.

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