Crews prepare for hurricane season by participating in lifesaving skills drills

Published: May. 25, 2013 at 9:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2013 at 3:30 AM CDT
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New Orleans, LA -- An elite emergency response team is gearing up, brushing up on lifesaving techniques that have been used in hurricanes from Katrina to Isaac.

Following the deadly tornado that hit Oklahoma, and with the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season starting next Saturday, this elite team of first responders wants to be ready.

The Louisiana Task Force One Spent the day training at the Victor Schiro Municipal Training Academy from 8:00 a.m. To 4:00 p.m.

The Louisiana Task Force includes firemen and EMS who are no stranger to emergencies.

The agency was created in 2005 and the search and rescue crew's first mission was Hurricane Katrina.

Since then, they have responded to disasters as far away as Alabama, when a deadly tornado struck Tuscaloosa in 2011.

It also provides hands-on search and rescue knowledge for first responders and groups like the Red Cross.

Today, they're sharpening their skills at six specialized stations featuring, high rope rescues and confined space rescue.

"And there are certain injuries that are very specific to being crushed underneath large blocks of concrete and our medics are practicing treating those at that station in a very what we call austere environment," says Ruel Douvillier, who leads the Louisiana Task Force One Agency.

A specially trained K-9, named Nola searches for a trapped victim in a tunnel.

"She's done a really good job. She searched on the rubble pile and our next area will be the concrete crushing facility," says K-9 Trainer, Denise Liset.

If there's a mass casualty event like a hurricane, tornado or even a building collapse, approximately

Two hundred and forty members of the Louisiana Task Force one would be called up to go and help.

"We'll get our search areas and we'll send our dogs in and we'll usually do a hasty search first and then we'll come back and do structure by structure to make sure everybody is cleared out," says Melissa Ellis of Louisiana Task Force One.

The first responders also practiced rescuing a victim trapped in a submerged car.