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Simulated air crash trains officials in emergency preparedness
DAGGETT • Military and city fire officials collaborated in a simulated air crash exercise at the Barstow-Daggett Airport Wednesday morning.
The scenario, replicating an aviation fire emergency, involved the National Training Center Aviation Company and two helicopters in a midair collision.
Two fatalities and nine other patients with critical, moderate and minor injuries were also simulated.
“This is the first time in history that we’ve done a drill of this magnitude on this airport, and I think for the first time bringing civilian and military folks together from half a dozen agencies,” Fort Irwin Fire Chief Ray Smith said.
“There are some things that we can streamline and make the process more efficient and effective,” Smith said. “I think for our first crack at it, it went really well.”
At 8:57 a.m., the Army Fire Station at the Daggett Airport received the call notifying them of the staged crash and were the first to respond. Fire and police responders from the Marine Corps Logistics Base soon followed with firefighters from the Barstow City Fire Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff. The drill involved a total of over 125 officials.
“It’s a good scenario so we could see how we interact, because this is a very unique situation where we’re not on an Army installation but we do a lot of operations out of here,” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sean Ellis said.
Discovering how the military interacts with civilian law enforcement, civilian EMS and first responders was also important in the exercise, Ellis said.
The Barstow-Daggett Airport is located approximately 10 miles outside of Barstow next to Interstate 40, and the U.S. Army Aviation annex on site has been in operation since World War II. The Aviation Company at the airport supports the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.
Barstow Fire Captain Jesse Griego said they were invited to participate to train and get real-time scene times and assist in patient care and triage.
“The Marine Base (Fire Department) are closer so they got here before us. We just basically came and played a role in a mass casualty incident like they trained us,” Griego said.