Huntsville International Airport holds full-scale emergency exercise

Huntsville Airport is required to do a full-scale training like this once every three years.

Posted: Sep 18, 2019 2:36 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2019 4:49 PM

First responders in Madison County participated in a full-scale emergency response training exercise. The exercise was at the Huntsville International Airport where more than 60 people volunteered as victims.

The scene was a plane crash with a bus being used as the plane. The exercise began with a barrel being set on fire to simulate a fire that would happen when a plane crashes. Within minutes, first responders arrived on scene to help the victims.

"Exercises like this allow us the opportunity to find where the problems are before we have a real world event," said Wesley Ogle, the Huntsville Fire and Rescue Division Chief.

The victims' injuries ranged from minor to critical. Some even had jet fuel on them and had to be decontaminated.

"I am unresponsive. My pulse is not really there and when they tilt my head, I'm not really breathing. So, I think I'm just gonna be dead on the scene," said a volunteer, Susan McDougal.

First responders worked to triage the victims. Those with green bands have minor injuries and can wait for care. Those with yellow bands have more serious injuries, but aren't life-threatening. Those with red bands need immediate care. Some victims were transported to Huntsville Hospital.

"We were able to transport multiple patients to local hospitals and get immediate treatment. Everything went very well," said Ogle.

Huntsville Airport is required to do a full-scale training like this once every three years. A captain with the Madison Fire Department said they learn something new each year.

"Communicating with the incident commander a little bit more, that's what I learned this time would be a little bit better," said Captain Doug Hill.

Volunteer victims said they think this exercise is great for those who protect and serve, and they're happy be a part of their training.

After the exercise ended, first responders discussed how the day went and what they could do better next time.

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