Miami building collapse: MFD captain explains rescue efforts

As first responders continue to comb through the rubble of a collapsed Florida condominium tower on Thursday, June 24, Milwaukee Fire Department members spoke to FOX6 News about what goes into such a rescue effort.

More than 70 MFD members make up what is called the Heavy Urban Rescue Team – or "HURT" Team. It's a specialized unit within MFD that is trained to help with everything from rope and trench rescues to structural collapses.

Milwaukee Fire Capt. Brian Moore is part of the team. He said the devastation in Florida is not common, but a situation they could handle here in Milwaukee.

"It’s something we train for on a regular basis," said Milwaukee Fire Capt. Brian Moore. "The first thing we’re going to do is keep the safety of ourselves and the civilians in the city of Milwaukee in mind."

The team works first to stabilize the structure, then uses specialized equipment like cameras that can squeeze into small spots and search for survivors.

"We’re able to stick it through into void spaces," Moore said. "We are able to move the end of it to look around."

HURT Team camera used to enter and search small spaces

A Delsar life detector acts as the rescue crew's ears, listening for people hidden in the rubble.

"Each one of these pucks goes out and it sits on top of the structure that has collapsed," said Moore. "As long as they’re knocking, talking or anything like that, this will pick up on that and it will give us the ability to go in and find them."

Delsar life detector components

Though the tragedy in Florida is something no one ever wants to have happen again, the HURT Team is ready to help if it does.

"It gives us a reminder, things to look for, things to think about when incidents like that happen," said Moore.

RELATED: Miami Heat player Tyler Herro, a Whitnall HS grad, lends helping hand after Florida condo collapse

Responding to scenes like the one in Florida can take a huge emotional toll. Moore said there are resources available for crews here to help with mental health needs.

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