BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Fire College trains thousands of firefighters each year. Some of that training became necessary after many cities and states recognized the need for firefighters in a mass casualty events similar to the September 11th attacks.
Wednesday, one group of firefighters learned how to drill a hole in concrete to drop a tiny camera in it if someone might be trapped under rubble. That’s just one way search and rescue changed after 9/11
“The state of Alabama is so much better prepared than we were in 2003. They developed the Alabama mutual aid system,” Matt Russell, executive director of the Alabama Fire College explained.
That system created 40 teams around the state trained and equipped to help in the most serious emergencies.
"They train on tasks such as structural collapse, surface water rescue, rope rescues and confined spaces, all the things , all the tasks were implemented during 9/11,” Russell continued.
The Alabama Fire College gets federal grant money to show firefighters how to more safely execute search and rescues. Seventy percent of those coming here for that training are from out of state.
“It’s been quite the dramatic change. A lot of additional training has been brought in, millions and millions of dollars in equipment is spread out around the state, all in response to be prepared for events like 9/11,” said Doug Cooper, a retired operations Chief from the Mobile Fire Department who assisted in training.
When those firefighters return to their home departments, they’re expected to perform the mandatory training they learned at the Alabama Fire College.