Minnesota Task Force 1 simulates building collapse for disaster response training

In a major disaster, it's Minnesota's Task Force 1 that will be one of the first to respond.

But the team's expertise comes with a lot of training.

On Thursday, the two of the team's doctors and 13 paramedics worked on accessing, pulling out and treating patients after a simulated building collapse.

“Tight spaces, loud noises, impeded communications, not having enough resources when you need it, so what we're doing here today is simulating some of those problems,” said Pete Fisher, Minnesota Task Force 1 administrator.

The task force helps with all types of disasters. The group has responded to the 35W bridge collapse, a fire investigation in Holly, Minn., and even in Iowa to assist with flood rescues.

“Minnesota Task Force 1 is designed to bridge the gap from the time a community may be overwhelmed with a disaster to the time federal resources such as FEMA teams arrive,” said Fisher. “Could be 24 to 36 hours before federal help arrives.”

Other than doctors and paramedics, the task force is made up of firefighters and police officers from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Edina and Dakota County. There are 230 members of the task force.