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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- One of the world's premiere search and rescue teams is based in Fairfax County.

When disaster strikes around the world, it is often the men and women of Virginia Task Force 1 who put themselves in harms way to save others.

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This week, WUSA9 is the only local news operation invited to join them on a special training mission, where they will face simulations of real-life disasters. Debra Alfarone and photographer Kurt Brooks take us up close and personal.

PHOTOS:Elite search and rescue mission training (http://on.wusa9.com/1g0mGVt)

One of the exercises shows actual actors as victims at a simulated parking garage collapse. Dogs are used to assist in finding the victims. These scenarios are in place to teach the Virginia Task Force 1 on how to deal with situations like this in a real-life setting and also how to improve their skills in such scenarios.

Dewey Perkes with USAID says, "It's something that takes us two years to plan, one week to execute and then get ready to start planning for the next one."

Behind the scenes VIDEO: Eating an MRE

Our crew is eating MREs while joining Virginia Task Force 1 on a special training mission. WUSA 9 photojournalist Kurt Brooks had the almond poppy seed pound cake Tuesday. After taking a bite he said to Debra Alfarone, "That's good."

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