Aircraft mishap exercise provides needed experience for first responder community

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar / 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

Date: 09.04.2013
Posted: 09.05.2013 17:28
News ID: 113145
Aircraft mishap exercise provides needed experience for first responder community

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – First responders with Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, Miramar Fire Department and local firefighting and paramedic services teamed up for an annual aircraft mishap training exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Sept. 4.

The training was designed to introduce these professionals to each other and develop lines of communication which could be crucial in the event of a crisis.

Those planning the exercise don’t foresee anything of this nature happening, they just want to facilitate the first responder’s training and communication. If an aircraft mishap were to happen, communication could be the key to people surviving, explained Greg Foster, the exercise director with station mission assurance.

“You set a plan together, [you put it into effect], you go back and learn from it to be better prepared should a mishap take place,” said Foster. “A lot of great training and learning occurred [during the exercise.]”

At this year’s exercise, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene to find a “burning” aircraft with “victims,” played by Marines scattered all over the grounds. The burning aircraft was actually a simulator used to give first responders a target close to the size of an actual aircraft.

Marine firefighters quickly doused flames scattered throughout the simulated aircraft, while paramedics treated simulated victims, calling for a helicopter to carry the worst of the wounded to local hospitals much like they would if an incident of this nature actually occured.

After the event, Foster took aside members of each respective organization to see what their thoughts were and how they could better prepare for the future. He explained that each group now has a firm understanding of their roles and how they will communicate in a crisis ensuring a prepared and capable first response force.