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Firefighters Say They're Better Prepared After 9/11

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- One of the few silver linings from 9/11 is that firefighters called to similar scenes are now better prepared for what they'll face.

Mike Schuh reports one 9/11 first responder built a portable simulator.

For weeks, highly trained rescue teams descended to look for life. Also at Ground Zero, firefighter Tom Quinn.

"What I learned from 9/11 is that the fire service is generally not prepared for a massive building collapse," said Quinn.

Special collapse rescue teams already cover every state, but Quinn wondered if he could build a mobile simulator so even rank and file firefighters get training.

"Well, this represents a three-story building collapse into the second floor and the second pancaked into the first," Quinn said.

In a collapse, rubble, wood and concrete may block the way. Rescuers dig a hole, move and then dig another hole.

"It's hot, it's definitely confined, it isn't fun," said Brian Franks.

Mike Schuh lasted 15 minutes.

"You gotta twist your body in ways you don't think you can twist your body," Franks said.

The simulator has already made 12,000 firefighters better equipped to face the challenge. In fact, one of their graduates recently used his training on a rescue.

"Man, this is like deja vu. We just went through the simulator and it's the same thing," Quinn said.

So far, three of those have been built. Contracts will soon be signed for a fourth and fifth simulator.

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