PERRY, Ga. — The home security and safety advice website, Safewise recently named the city of Perry the sixth safest city in Georgia.
In addition to this honor, the city is home to a facility that does its job to make sure we are all safe. When you drive down Perry Parkway, you’ll see a facility tucked back off the road. You can’t tell what is is from the outside, but that soon changes.
From the looks of it, it looks like most cities. There are streets signs, cars parked along the road. Buildings catching the sun rays. This place is anything but common.
“The only nickname I’m aware of at this point is the Disneyland of all places when it comes to first responders,” says.
You won’t find Thunder Mountain Railroad here, but you’ll find adventures and exhilarating thrills around every corner. It’s name is Guardian Centers. And it’s a place for first responders and the military to train, but this 1600 acre facility has an explosive history.
“This was once an old nuclear warhead site for Northrup. After a couple of years once it opened, it never sold a warhead because President Reagan signed the treaty of no nukes, and it closed down. Once that happened, Grumman came in and bailed Northrup out. Now we know it as Northrup Grumman,” says Guardian Center VP Business Development, Randall Barnes.
After that, Boeing came in for two years and built parts of 747s. Then, it was dormant for 15 years. That was when CEO Geoff Burkart had the idea of creating a place where first responders could train all in one place. For Barnes, a veteran who served 27 years, he can’t think of a better place for first responders and the military to go and get the most realistic training.
“Me serving in the military, you didn’t wait until you got to a situation to train for it. You had to go through the training to become certified so you know what you’re doing when it happens. It’s the same thing for our first responders. They are allowed to come here and get so close to realistic training. Actually realistic training prior to things happening to them and for them out in the field,” says Barnes.
The facility contains a village of eight furnished homes that can be flooded so crews can practice rescues. There is a mock Washington D.C. metro station equipped with trains to practice in the event of a hostage takeover of a train or a bomb on a train. Crews can also come and practice marksmanship and counter-terrorism measures.
SWAT teams will use this building for active shooter training. There will be a shooter in the building, and crews have to clear the building and get control of the situation. Law enforcement says it is crucial to train for this and other situations that may arise.
Ricky Holder spent 25 years in law enforcement. He now runs his own private investigating firm. He says training is crucial for law enforcement in that they will revert back to it in a stressful situation.
“This training teaches you extra things you can do to help control a situation or to help you identify things or to help you specialize in a specific area. That’s just a plus for the citizens you work for,” says Holder.
“Knowing that less than one percent of America serves in United States Military, and you know what you’ve been through and you see individuals come out and continue to train the way they train, as a civilian now, it makes me feel just as safe as any civilian who had not served in the military because I know that the first responders, the military and private organizations do their job to keep us safe,” says Barnes.
And Guardian Centers keeps them ready to do that job.
Those interested in training or learning more about the Guardian Centers, CLICK HERE.