Most Viewed Stories
Mass casualty training tests emergency response
Shrieks of agony and pain from Marines who pretended to be wounded could be heard all over the flightline Monday morning as Marine Corps Air Station Yuma practiced its response to a worst-case disaster scenario.
The mass casualty drill was conducted to help prepare the air station's first responders for any events that could possibly occur during the annual Yuma Air Show, which usually draws crowds of up to 50,000 spectators.
The scenario in Monday's training, held from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., simulated a plane being shot down with a missile launcher during the air show, resulting in civilians getting injured or killed.
Assistant Chief Arthur Chavez Jr., of the Marine Corps Air Station Fire Department, said the training exercise is designed to test and increase the air station's emergency response capabilities, as well as to improve cross-agency communications during a crisis.
“It prepares us for the event there ever is a mass casualty emergency here,” Chavez said. “For the most part, the training is as good as it gets for us.”
Chavez added that by practicing for emergencies with mass casualties, if it ever were to happen, they wouldn't be responding to it for the first time.
During the exercise, a large number of fire trucks and ambulances from the air station headed to the scene of the downed plane. As MCAS firefighters began their work, disaster drill organizers watched and took notes.
The air station firefighters were first to arrive on scene. They immediately began putting out a simulated aircraft on fire on the runway, while emergency medical technicians began to triage the casualties.
Marines played the role of injured civilians, acting out their wounds. The injured were spread out all over the flightline, some pretending to be critical injured, while others had minor wounds.
The simulated casualties were spread out all along the flightline with tags attached to their clothes describing their injury and condition.
Everyone pretending to be injured was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center by ambulance. The ones with the worst simulated injuries were airlifted from the scene.
The Yuma Sector Border Patrol's BORSTAR teams also participated in Monday's exercise, helping to triage and transport patients.
Chavez said everyone worked together and played their part during the exercise. Saying it was a challenge, he added that there is always room for improvement.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854.
Video online @