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Missouri Task Force One, Boone County Fire train search tactics

Around 50 Missouri Task Force One members gathered at the Boone County Fire Protection District training center in Columbia Saturday to work on search tactics and scenarios. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)

Around 50 Missouri Task Force One members gathered at the Boone County Fire Protection District training center in Columbia Saturday.

The task force members were ready to work on search tactics and scenarios. Joined by search dogs, GIS technology and a drone, the members worked on several skills needed to search and rescue.

Several teams formed throughout the training center to drill these scenarios. There are plans and logistics teams, K-9 search teams, communications teams, technical search teams and a drone team.

Each team works together in an effort to quickly, effectively and safely locate and rescue victims during disasters.

Boone County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Scott Olsen said the search team exercise help prepare the first responders for large scale disasters.

The drone team is gearing up to be deployable within the month of April. Olsen said this technology is crucial when first arriving to a disaster.

"Whenever we show up at a disaster site one of the most difficult things for us to try to determine is what's the scope of the disaster," he said. "The drones are able to get up in the air and give us a very quick visual."

Missouri Task Force One assists with several crisis, natural disaster situations. The men and women in this emergency management agency have traveled to some of the most notable disasters in the U.S. including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Colorado floods, the Joplin tornado and most recently, Hurricane Harvey.

"It's one of 28 federal urban search and rescue task forces in the country, so we're very fortunate to have it here because it brings with it a lot of capability that we can use right within our own community," he said.

MOTF1 is housed within the BCFPD. Olsen said if mid-Missouri were to experience a significant ice storm, tornado or other disaster, the resources are available to immediately respond.

"In all disasters time is the key part," he said.

"That's what we're working on today is to make our searches the most efficient they can be and minimize the time between notification, to arrival, to getting an understanding of what's going on in the disaster site and then deploying rescue teams to rescue people."

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