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Rural firefighters take part in "survival" training, remember 9/11 attacks

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Dozens of firefighters from around Southern Arizona gathered in Rio Rico for survival training and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

The 5th Annual Fire Ground Survival Training provides firefighters the skills needed when working in big box buildings filled with obstacles.

Frank Granados, Senior Advisor with the Rio Rico Medical and Fire District, recalled witnessing the horrific images of 9/11 on TV.

"When I saw the second plane hit, it was just a panic, devastating panic to know what they were going through,” Granados said.

The heroic selfless acts of first responders on 9/11 are sacrifices never to be forgotten.

Granados noted how it’s a multi-group effort involving several firefighting agencies to make the survival training a reality.

The training, conducted at the Del Campo Supreme warehouse, provides firefighters a grueling immersive experience, filled with theatrical smoke and angled obstacles.

"This here brings it all together so that everybody is on the same page as far as large big box buildings, working to accomplish a task of going in and coming out alive,” Granados said.

For Michael Urbanski, a Rio Rico firefighter of 10 years, the training program is vital, especially in rural Arizona where agencies depend on each other at times to accomplish the mission and be there for the community 24/7.

“We'll be there on their worst day. That's why we do this training like this so we are prepared to help them on days like that,” Urbanski said.

The training program runs through Friday. Granados noted firefighters from Mexico are planning to attend.

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