At Cold War missile factory, elite rescuers drill for disaster

Reuters
A rescue specialists for USA-1 repels while using a jackhammer to rescue a victim from the scene of a mock disaster area during a training exercise at the Guardian Center in Perry

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On a cloudless, windswept Georgia morning 100 miles south of Atlanta, a rescuer dangled 30 feet in the air, secured by rappelling ropes, wielding a jackhammer, as he drove the drill into a massive concrete slab designed to mimic the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It took about an hour to punch a hole big enough to reach mock disaster "victims" trapped between the slab and an exterior wall.

Nearby more rescuers stood by a replica of an apartment building damaged during the 2010 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake. Dogs sniffed for victims. Engineers built make-shift ladders with two-by-fours.

The large-scale disaster drill, unfolding this week in rural Georgia, is being staged at a 830-acre (335-hectare) training site that was a missile factory during the Cold War. The campus, known as The Guardian Centers, is nestled between a grove of pecan trees and a rural stretch of interstate and is designed to meet the growing needs of disaster rescue, police and military teams. (Reuters)

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