The Place Where Tragedy and Training Meet - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The Place Where Tragedy and Training Meet

Disaster City is a training ground for urban search and rescue

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    The Place Where Tragedy and Training Meet

    At the 52-acre Disaster City training facility in College Station, the Dallas-based Texas Task Force 2 and similar teams from around the country and the world learn how to rescue people from building collapses, rubble piles and other forms of wreckage. (Published Friday, May 10, 2019)

    Not far from Texas A&M in College Station lies a 52-acre city in ruins. 

    The disastrous scenes within it are one of the best training grounds in the world for urban search and rescue teams -- including the North Texas-based Texas Task Force Two, which has used its expertise at disasters like the explosion in West, Texas; Hurricane Harvey and even the recent Camp Fire in California. 

    It's called Disaster City, a fake town that's been methodically built -- then destroyed. Scenarios here are based on disasters we've seen in real life -- like explosions, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes. 

    "After the 1995 Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City, the state identified there wasn't the capability in the state of Texas to respond to that kind of event," said Stephen Bjune, the training manager for Texas Task Force One, of the two such teams in Texas. 

    "It's a really neat facility that's able to train all these different people, provide the realism for what they need, so when they see disaster for the first time in reality, they are prepared for it and know how to go to work in it," Bjune said.
    Disaster City uses volunteers to help create what they call "chaos and realism." If you want to find out how you can volunteer, click here.