New Urban Search and Rescue Center Opens in Ocala, Fla.

May 31, 2007

Florida’s newest Urban Search and Rescue Training Facility was dedicated on the Florida State Fire College campus in Ocala on May 25

The state’s nine Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces and 53 Light Technical Rescue Teams, many of which responded during the 2004-2005 hurricanes and the 2006-2007 tornadoes, were recognized in conjunction with the facility opening.

Demonstrations of heavy-rescue equipment in realistic scenarios using some of the new US&R training facility’s props followed the ceremony.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal, attended the ceremony with Florida’s Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate.

Sink, Fugate and others who have participated in the planning and development of the training center discussed how federal Homeland Security funds were used to build the state-of-the art facility, which is the first of its kind in the nation to simulate a post-blast environment with smoke and fire.

More than $45 million in Homeland Security funds have been funneled through the State Fire Marshal’s Office to provide in excess of 182,000 hours of disaster training for fire departments and emergency responders throughout the state.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

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