Leon County Emergency Management undergoing search and rescue training

The training involves using probability to determine the most effective search and rescue approach for a particular situation.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:43 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In the wake of Hurricane Ian, crews rescued hundreds of people trapped after the storm’s strong winds and huge surge.

The disaster demonstrated the need for effective search and rescue tactics.

Leon County Emergency Management staff are training this week on how to improve their search and rescue methods to prepare for future natural disasters.

The agency’s director says it was actually Hurricane Michael that prompted them to sign up for this training course.

The program is put on by the U.S. Air Force Inland Search and Rescue.

It’s very competitive to get access to this training, so it ended up taking Leon County years to make it happen here locally.

The training involves using probability to determine the most effective search and rescue approach for a particular situation.

One participant, Lieutenant Luther McClellan from the Tallahassee Fire Department’s search and rescue team, said he’s happy to learn tactics he can use to better do his job of saving lives.

“It’s the first thing that shows up when the worst thing has happened,” McClellan said. “And to be able to be part of that and be there to start the healing process for those that may have just lost everything--that’s what we’re looking to do.”

McClellan was deployed to Southwest Florida for two weeks after Hurricane Ian with TFD’s search and rescue team.

He said this week’s training is focused on wide-area searches, which is what they do when responding after a hurricane.

It helps them prioritize which areas to search first and how to reach as many people as possible.