Indiana team trains for unexpected disasters

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)  – Indiana emergency responders ask the question “what if?” everyday – it is how they prepare for sudden disasters. This week, they asked, “what if an earthquake hit Indiana?”

The Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring Team,  IBEAM for short, simulated their arrival at the scene of an earthquake Thursday. They set up equipment that will help them do what they are trained to do in the event of an emergency.

Officials say they must make sure buildings are safe enough for first responders to go inside before they enter.

Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson watched the action unfold Thursday.

“They will do an exterior assessment first. Providing they feel the building is structurally sound to enter, they may need to enter that building to do some assessment,” Greeson told 24-Hour News 8.

The three day training session took place inside a building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The session tests equipment and helps the people that run that equipment get familiar with how it operates.

“(The point is) to make sure that all the parts are here, that all the machines are working how they are supposed to and our communications works like it should,” Greeson said.

IBEAM includes 50 trained emergency personnel and more than a dozen engineers and architects.  Some of them have already been deployed to disaster sites, including hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

IBEAM is the only team of its kind in the nation that is totally self sustaining – meaning they set up their own camp with their own equipment and can function without outside help.

“We continually train and exercise so when we do have to respond, it’s not the first time we’ve met each other and so that we can go to work and help keep Hoosiers safe,” Greeson said.

IBEAM also trains outside. They bring the entire team together once a year at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in southeast Indiana for a full disaster simulation.

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