MERRITT ISLAND, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 04/30/13 -- As the current Director of Operations for the Florida Volunteer Search & Rescue Corps and former member of the United States Search & Rescue Response Force, Derek M. Walls knows how prepared teams must be in order to provide quick service in the event of an emergency. According to Walls, such high level of service was exemplified by the Search and Rescue teams that helped locate and recover victims in the fertilizer plant explosion that occurred in West, Texas. According to a recent article from Fox News, officials declared 14 victims had died as a result of the explosion and approximately 200 incurred injuries -- Walls notes that these numbers could have proven much higher if citizens and rescue teams were not willing to assist in the devastation.
Derek M. Walls comments, "While the loss involved in the West, Texas plant explosion is tragic and devastating, it is important that the public appreciate the lives that were saved thanks to the efforts set forth by community members and Search and Rescue teams. To exemplify this level of service, one only has to consider the some 60 people who were reported missing a day after the incident. It was the help of dedicated volunteers and service members who helped ensure that those individuals did not perish in the devastation."
According to Fox the destruction caused by the explosion was extensive. The article reports that at the time of the explosion, "Flames spiraled into the evening sky and rained burning embers, shrapnel and debris down on frightened residents." In the aftermath, city blocks were described as "totally decimated," leveled by the force created by the explosion. For experienced search and rescue professional, Derek M. Walls explains that while these circumstances are rare, every SAR volunteer must be prepared to act when they occur.
Fox reports that many of those who perished in the incident were those who responded to the damage. The article reveals, "The Dallas Morning News reported that among the dead were at least 11 emergency responders, three of whom were training at the time of the blast to become EMTs. They valiantly rushed to the growing smoke plume that could be seen for miles around the small community of 2,800 people. It would be, as the paper said, 'their last call.'"
"Those who provided Search and Rescue services in West, Texas not only had to deal with the confusion of the explosion, but also had to face fire damage, structural dangers and hazardous materials while locating missing individuals. Unfortunately, some of these responders gave their lives as part of their commitment and dedication to protect the lives of the public. Their efforts should be commended to the highest degree," Derek M. Walls concludes.
Derek M. Walls founded SAR Corps in 1997 after serving in the national Search and Rescue Response Force. Feeling that he positively impacted the families who learned of missing loved ones and needed his help recovering them, Derek M. Walls wanted to pass this tradition along to others. Wanting to instill this same love of community service in the local youth, he created SAR Corps so that Adults of the age of 18 & children could learn age-appropriate Search and Rescue and military techniques. Today, the efforts of Derek M. Walls have made a considerable difference and reached significant expansion, as all training for the camp is held at this 10-acre sports complex on Merritt Island.
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