Spokane emergency responders ready if disaster hits


by KREM.com


Posted on March 24, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 24 at 7:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--Emergency responders in the Spokane area said they are ready to act if something similar to Western Washington’s mudslide ever happened in the Inland Northwest.    

About 25 people at District 9 are specifically trained to respond to natural disasters.

"So if we were to experience a mudslide like they did in Snohomish County, then we'd have the USR Task Force on the ground,” said Chief Jack Cates with Fire District 9.

READ: 14 confirmed dead in Oso landslide

It is all on deck for the Urban Search and Rescue team when disaster hits. The team is made up of about 40 people from District 9 and Spokane Fire.

"They'd be out searching for people who are trapped, searching for what structures they could find,” said Cates.

Chief Cates said he personally cannot recall any mudslides he has responded to but said the team has responded to the same type of issues. They had to evacuate people during the Valley View fire in 2008.

Inland Northwest crews mainly train for incidents like floods and building collapses.

One trailer carried all the equipment the USR crews need. It carried listening devices and cameras.

Crews said they are ready if a disaster ever hits.

The USR trains every month but hope they will not have to use their skills any time soon.