Crushed columns, hanging concrete slabs and protruding steel all form the foundation of the Texas Engineering Extension Service's newest structural collapse training facility at Disaster City®.
Based on first-hand accounts and photographs of the Pentagon after 9/11 and Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Building in 1995, the new TEEX training prop is designed to simulate either a natural disaster or terrorist attack at a multi-story building.
Building access points, which can only be reached by breaching through concrete and metal, are located several stories above the ground and are only accessible by rope rapelling or the construction of a suitable platform.
"This is the most advanced rescue training prop we have at Disaster City®," said Jeff Saunders, TEEX urban search and rescue associate director. "The new scenarios we can create with the structural collapse training facility are going to add an entirely new dimension level to urban search and rescue training."
Hanging haphazardly from the building interior's ceiling are wires, lights and air ducts - adding an unmatched sense of realism to the training prop.
"So many countless hours of design and engineering went into this prop. We've created a very safe training site that appears as if it could collapse at any time," said Jim Yeager, TEEX urban search and rescue program manager.
The renovation, which took nearly three months to complete, will be used during this year's Texas Task Force 1 Operational Readiness Exercise, March 2-4. The three-day exercise gives Task Force members intense training in responding to a disaster exactly as they would during a real incident.
TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, serves as the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1, which functions as a federal team under FEMA's national urban search and rescue program and as Texas' only statewide urban search and rescue team under direction of the Governor's Division of Emergency Management.
TEEX offers hands-on, customized training, technical assistance and emergency response services impacting Texas and beyond. Agency programs include fire services, homeland security, public safety and security, public works, safety and health, search and rescue and economic development.