Hundreds of Soldiers Training in Ocala
Preparing for tragic events like 911 is nearly impossible for most people, but this isn't the case for those serving in the military.
Some special training exercises are taking place in the city of Ocala.
Hundreds of soldiers train for real life events at near urban search and rescue facility near the Ocala airport.
Even though this is not a real life event, hands on training like this prepares soldiers for the unpredictable.
"There is always that slight chance that a natural disaster is going to occur or another terrorist incident involving weapons of mass destruction, so preparedness is the big key," said Capt. Thomas Stevens who is Commanding Officer for 377th CBRN Mass Casualty Decontamination.
More than 500 soldiers visited this facility to practice specific exercises that they may use in the future.
Here soldiers are training for a mass decontamination event.
"Making sure that a victim or a casualty is completely free of any contamination," said Capt. Stevens.
Capt. Stevens said in the decontamination drill, they use mannequins as well as actual people.
"They provide that human factor, the fear factor that makes it more realistic for our soldiers," said Capt. Stevens.
The Safety Solutions Inc. facility offers other training exercises including extricating a person from a vehicle, confined space operations, rope rescue and collapsed building rescue.
During the collapsed building exercise the soldiers practice breaking through concrete to save the victims, which in this case are mannequins.
Some soldiers who came to train are active duty and others are army reserve.
"They have civilian jobs as well. This adds an additional skill set that they can translate into the civilian word," said Capt. Stevens.
While the men and women who serve our country are benefiting from this experience, so is the city of Ocala.
"It is bringing a lot to the economy. Along with the hotel rooms and just the regular meals and stuff. Obviously fuel for all of these vehicles that are coming here on a regular basis," said Richard Murphy who is the Senior Vice President of Advanced Technical Education Consultants.
At the end of the training, some soldiers will be certified while others will be revalidated. Making it certain that,
"We are ready to respond to any natural disaster or terroist incident," said Capt. Stevens.
Many of these soldiers spent about 60 days in Ocala during the training, but this weekend the soldiers and units will be graduating.
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