Illinois National Guard trains for tornadoes with disaster drill - FOX 32 News Chicago

Illinois National Guard trains for tornadoes with disaster drills

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

As the country looks at the relief efforts in Oklahoma, Illinois is training for the same kind of disaster. The Illinois National Guard prepares every year for disaster events.

In Lake County, destroyed cars are tossed around as if they were toys as they demonstrate what could happen if a tornado were to come through Illinois.

Fortunately, this is just a training exercise.

"Over the last 9 days, we've had anywhere from 12 to 16 hour days rain, thunderstorms, warm weather. We've crawled through rubble piles, we've cut through concrete, we repelled off of this really large tower here, sometimes going inverted," says Captain Travis Turner.

The soldiers also perform a mock rescue of a person, someone like a window washer, stuck on a line. Other soldiers simulated rescuing someone trapped inside of a confined space.

In this situation, a fire started to burn next door, so as a rescuer comes down the tube and the area is filled with smoke. They learn to work quickly to pull the victim to safety.

This is the second training location for the Illinois National Guard. Soldiers practiced how they would approach a home destroyed by a tornado.

The National Guard turned to the services of rescUSA, a company that specializes in urban rescue training.

"We train anywhere from their people that have been doing this for several years and refreshing them and taking them to the next level as well as their new recruits that they have within their unit," says RescUSA co-owner Tom Bentley.

It's this kind of preparation and team work that leaders feel will better prepare the state for a disaster.

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