500 First Responders Train In Tulsa For Emergency Situations

Tuesday, September 28th 2021, 6:20 pm
By: Reagan Ledbetter

TULSA, Oklahoma -

More than 500 firefighters and rescue workers from across the state are in Tulsa this week training for emergencies.

Operational Readiness Exercise is a three-day training, done every two years, to test crews and make sure they are prepared when called to a real-life situation.

Crews said you perform like you train, so they train a lot. They said these training exercises are designed to help see where they are lacking and fix it before they have to do it for real.

Each exercise is specifically designed to challenge rescue crews and they are evaluated by instructors.

"When you are called out, you are rescue, you are firemen, you are expected, your community expects you to show up and take care of the situation,” said John Vietta, who is one of the instructors.

Crews from every region of the state came to train for structural collapses, wide area searches, damage assessment, rope rescue, trench rescues and K-9 Search and Rescue. It may not be real, but they treat it like it is.

“They take it very seriously,” said Curtis Driscoll with Homeland Security. “They are not being paid to be here; they are volunteering their time."

Oklahoma Task Force 1 was recently put to the test in Louisiana when they helped in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. They train and prepare year-round because it is the Oklahoma standard.

"They have a passion for helping their fellow man because they truly do care about what they are doing and want to be a part of the community,” Driscoll said. “Even if the community is a large scale, if it is outside where they live, they still consider the other people part of their community, they want to help. If we don't train. If we don't prepare for the worst, then when it happens, more lives are lost, and more people suffer.”  

The training started Tuesday and goes until Thursday.