And the walls came tumbling down

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A SALVATION ARMY canteen was on site throughout the recent disaster training exercises in Denver, Colo.

McNichols Arena demolition aids in disaster readiness


The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster team was asked to participate in one of the largest technical emergency training events in the United States, held recently in Denver, Colo. Approximately 400 emergency responders representing more than 30 agencies participated in this three-day search and rescue exercise.

Firefighters, paramedics, rescue technicians and search and rescue dogs from five different states combed through the debris of Denver’s McNichols Arena, parts of which had been blown up in preparation for constructing the Denver Broncos’ new football stadium.

The Salvation Army provided lunch and dinner to the rescue workers. Twenty-nine Army volunteers and staff participated, volunteering 200 hours and providing more than 1,400 hot meals.

Intermountain Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Harold Brodin said, “The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services in Denver has a long standing relationship with the emergency responders in the Rocky Mountain region. We’re delighted to continue this type of training that makes us even more effective when an emergency does occur.”

The rescue workers, along with search and rescue dogs, trained in shifts throughout the day and night helping to clear rubble, stabilizing the building, and locating dummies buried in the collapsed structure. One of the main goals was to develop skills to help search and rescue teams locate survivors in disaster situations such as collapsed buildings, flooded areas and downed airplanes.

Jon R. Wallace. FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 8, Denver, said, “Many of the Urban Search and Rescue Team members participating at the McNichols exercise also served in Oklahoma City in 1995 during the relief effort following the federal building bombing. They remember well the service offered by The Salvation Army. Then, as now, The Salvation Army is there to support them in their efforts.”

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