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Reality Rescue

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City of Miami firefighters testing out the Guardian Safety and Survival Training Simulator. City of Miami firefighters testing out the Guardian Safety and Survival Training Simulator.
WSVN -- -

Raging fires. Search and rescue missions. Firefighters live these disasters, always first into the danger zone. Putting their lives on the line to save others.

Training is vital, and now City of Miami firefighters have a new tool to help them prepare.

Capt. Hinton: "We'll start from an outer circle, work our way in."

It's the Guardian Safety and Survival Training Simulator, a mobile unit that can simulate a disaster.

Lt. Carlos Soldevilla: "Now that we have this simulator, we're able to make it as real as possible, keeping it as controlled as possible."

With this innovative tool, City of Miami firefighters can create all kinds of set-ups, from a collapsed building search to a sewer line rescue.

Lt. Carlos Soldevilla: "We're entering below street level into a sewer or a manhole, and we found a victim down there.

Lt. Tim Gleason suits up for this one.

Lt. Tim Gleason: "This training is pretty critical. We're the team in the City of Miami that, if you're trapped or stuck, we're the ones that are going to be coming to get you."

He oversees his young partner in the sewer line.

Lt. Tim Gleason: "I have perfect line of sight on Anna."

Lt. Tim Gleason: "We treat it just as if it was hot as a real scene. With that comes the knowledge of what you need to do when you're on the scene."

Training keeps skills fresh and gives less experienced firefighters the practice they need for real emergencies.

Anna Fiorenza: There are going to be things that are thrown at you, but you know just to keep your calm, or else you're going to freak out and you're not helping anyone like you're supposed to be."

Real life disasters inspire these training exercises. Take last year's parking garage collapse at Miami Dade College. This scenario is set up to look the same: a building collapse with one victim missing.

Jeff Lennox: "Inside it's dark, it's cramped, it's hot, and you don't know what lies around the corner, from beams that have fallen to electrical hazards. All sorts of obstacles facing these first responders."

These first responders crawl through carefully, looking for victims, not knowing what lies around dark corners.

Firefighter: "Miami Fire Department. If anyone's in here, knock two times."

A concrete wall blocks the path to the victim, but the team adjusts quickly and drills a hole to insert a small camera.

Firefighter: "When you want to look up and down, you just rotate the camera."

They find the victim and carefully chip away at the wall to get to him. Trainees are monitored closely and support is constant from the outside.

Firefighter: "The victim is conscious?"

But inside the Guardian, you never know what's next.

Lt. Tim Gleason: "There's a bunch of curve balls that they've planned into the building. There's panels that can moved and be removed, floors that tilt up and down. There's all kinds of debris that can be put in their way."

Whether it's medical emergencies, fires or construction accidents, this hands-on training is invaluable, getting firefighters ready for the next big call.

Lt. Frank Mainade: "The application within the city is multitude, especially with all the construction that's going on now. The more realistic the scenario, the more realistic you can make it, the better it is. It's a fantastic tool."

Jeff Lennox, Seven News.

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