The timing was a coincidence – but, just hours after the Skagit River I-5 bridge collapse, firefighters from Seattle and other metro-area departments were here in West Seattle, practicing skills they would need if faced with a disaster or attack requiring people to be rescued from wreckage and debris.
The “structural collapse and heavy rescue” training was at the Joint Training Facility, off Myers Way South in the city limits’ southern pocket east of White Center, north of Top Hat.
The facility is specially set up to facilitate training for situations that rescuers seldom get to see, but need to know how to handle:
SFD Lt. Frank Brennan offered more specifics:
According to the media advisory sent late yesterday by Seattle Fire, while this training is applicable to other types of rescue situations, it’s funded by a regional grant that’s part of the federal Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative. The program is described on a federal web page as involving “the unique planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas, and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism.”