More than a hundred Galveston County first responders tested their life saving skills in real-life scenarios during a rare training opportunity.
The project was part of the local government's push to take homes set to be demolished and turn them into a temporary training ground.
The training took place at the site of the former Blue Jay Apartments in Texas City on June 29, before crews began demolition. Through state funding and a partnership with DSW Homes, the old duplexes will be replaced with 26 new single-family homes and renamed The Oaks at Blue Jay Drive.
“This gives them the chance to do training, they can knock down and do exercises,” Pct. 3 Commissioner Stephen Holmes said. “It’s the perfect opportunity.”
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said what was even more unique was the cross training between so many first responders from so many different jurisdictions.
“Any chance to bring together our local police, fire, EMS and CERT personnel to practice emergency drills is common sense,” Judge Henry said. "This gives them the ability to practice real life scenarios with an actual structure they normally wouldn't have access to, and it’s free.”
Those practice drills consisted of breaking windows, cutting trench lines to ventilate roofs, searching for occupants and other hands-on experience a standard training ground can't offer, Henry said.
DSW Homes partner Steve Mataro called the opportunity a dream come true.
“We are proud and honored we are changing history,” Mataro said. “With all these first responders coming together for the first time hand in hand that’s an accomplishment we’re all proud of.”