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Sedgwick County firefighters discuss preparation for ‘worst-case scenarios’

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:14 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Sedgwick County Fire Department never stops preparing and training to be ready for emergencies. Crews walked Eyewitness News reporter Lily Wu what rescue crews in Surfside, Florida are going through after an apartment building collapsed, killing at least four with more than 150 unaccounted for, as of Friday afternoon.

While a different situation under far different circumstances, Sedgwick County Fire Captain Don Boone likens what’s happening in Florida to natural disasters he’s responded to in his 17 years with the department. He remembers Greensburg in 2007 after the tornado ripped through the heart of the town, nearly destroying it. Some of the images in the immediate aftermath of that devastating storm remind him of what he’s seen this week in Florida.

“They’re very frustrated right now and they’re very anxious right now because it feels like time is just passing and they’re not making the progress they want to make,” Boone said. “It’s one of those things that you can’t go fast. It’s got to be slow, it’s got to be meticulous.”

Sedgwick County firefighters at Station 32 are part of the Technical Rescue Team. They train and prepare for search-and-rescue missions.

“We don’t like for this stuff to happen, but this is what we train for,” Boone said. “So, if it does happen, we want to be ready and we appreciate the opportunity to go serve to do that, to help those people.”

While more than 1,600 miles away, the Sedgwick County firefighters say they are thinking about their fellow first responders.

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