ems300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Sun, 07/12/2009 - 1:51pm.

Natural disasters can strike without warning, destroying your home, your belongings even your life. Brunswick County Emergency Services held a special training exercise this weekend that dealt specifically with natural disasters. Fire departments, police departments, EMS workers and hospitals from across the state were invited to participate. “We have five structures that are in the various stages of collapse and we have not only mannequins in them, but have also placed some live people, and we also had individuals who were portraying victims who were here and transported to different hospitals,” said Marty Cooke, Brunswick County Commissioner. Rescue dogs were also sent out, communication systems were tested, and special support beams were built that would aid in the rescue process. The goal of the training was to give workers a better idea of what the scene will be like in the event of a disaster, and help them become better prepared. “If you train from the perspective of this actually being a disaster area where things could hurt you, then when you go to the actual situation where you have a live victim that may be trapped, you remember certain things that took place,” Cooke added. People came from as far away as Fayetteville and Greensboro to train, because in the event of a disaster, it’s all hands on deck. “The challenges that we would face if we were faced with quite a bit of devastation across our county, we would actually need these resources and probably many more,” said Randy Thompson of Brunswick County Emergency Services. Some of the most valuable resources emergency services can have during a disaster are volunteers. They often risk their lives to keep people safe, all without pay, and were in the majority at the training. “Sometimes you have bad days, sometimes you have good days, but it feels good knowing you saved somebody's life,” said volunteer firefighter Denver Stanley. To find out more about Brunswick County Emergency Services, and for tips on how to stay safe during a natural disaster, you can go to their website,

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