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Plane crash drill prepares first responders for any scenario

Video from WALB
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - First responders were part of an aircraft crash drill at the Southwest Georgia Reginal Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires a drill to be done every three years.

They had a little more than 30 volunteers playing victims, and the roles they played helped all first responders know how to react to this type of situation.

Volunteer victims use the actions in the card to know what they need to be doing.
Volunteer victims use the actions in the card to know what they need to be doing.(WALB)

Prepping volunteers for the drill starts with make-up. Sonja Marie Moody with the Department of Public Health said this is to help make the scene more realistic. Her team applies the makeup according to their symptomatic card.

Team applies makeup to a volunteer.
Team applies makeup to a volunteer.(WALB)

“Use the actions in the card to know what they need to be doing whether they should be moaning or whether they’re not supposed to be making noises at all,” said Moody.

Next, the victims are placed around the staged plane crash, and first responders take over.

Shaun Cookson, The Superintendent of operations at the airport, said the planning for this drill has been in the works for nearly 10 months. The goal is to test responsiveness.

“This is something that we hope never happens, that we gain skills today that we never have to use. But it’s something that helps our first responders meet each other,” said Cookson.

Gaining these contacts is essential and according to Michael Fowler, Dougherty County Coroner, it helps make things run smoother in an actual event.

Like the plane crash that happened in 2016 where three people lost their lives.

“It was difficult trying to deal with what happened. Dealing with everyone involved, a lot of phone calls. The more we do it the more we are more familiar with it the easier it is to do,” said Fowler.

Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County Coroner.
Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County Coroner.(WALB)

In this type of situation, it’s all hands on deck.

Albany and Dougherty County police departments, Albany fire department, Airport police and fire departments along with Dougherty County EMS all responded during the drill.

Firetrucks, an ambulance, and even the mobile morgue were all part of the drill, training for the worst-case scenario.

One of the first responders surveying the area was Dickie Livingston. Working with EMS, his team looked at all the victims to determine how critical their injuries were and then continued with the protocol.

“If it was a real situation, it’d be a lot different a lot more moving a little more chaos, but the end result would be the same,” said Livingston. “The hospital was called they were notified of all the patients that we sent by EMS. For what we already triaged they can look at them and see if they’ve gotten any better or any worse.”

Dickie Livingston is a first responder with Dougherty County EMS.
Dickie Livingston is a first responder with Dougherty County EMS.(WALB)

During the exercise Emergency Management training and exercise specialists stand by to survey and give feedback, Joey Rogers was one of them.

“We’re not looking for failures. We’re identifying gaps. No one organization can handle this event on their own. All of these organizations come together so we can start the recovery process to heal the community,” said Rogers.

Joey Rogers is the Emergency Management Training And Exercise Specialist For MCLB.
Joey Rogers is the Emergency Management Training And Exercise Specialist For MCLB.(WALB)

He said after their report if they see areas they could improve in, they would coordinate future training.

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