AZ Guard first responders hone skills in air craft crash response

AZ Guard first responders hone skills in air craft crash response

Marana Ariz. – Army Sgt. 1st Class Jenalyn Brock and Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Voorhis treat a simulated patient during an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting training event at the Western Army Aviation Training Site (WAATS) here May 2. The training event focused on Soldiers assigned to the emergency services platoons maximizing their abilities to respond to and secure an incident scene while providing medical aid as necessary. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Marco Lechuga)

Marana, Ariz. – First responders from the Western Army Aviation Training Site (WAATS) recently participated in a Mutli-Agency Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting training event focusing on air craft crash response.

The training is designed to incorporate three emergency services platoons into coordinated response teams that support one of the WAATS primary missions – Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF). Events like this help build a continuity of operations among the Soldiers assigned to the emergency services platoons and maximizes their abilities to respond to and secure an incident scene while providing medical aid as necessary.

“During This training we were able to use a McDonald Douglas MD-80 commercial jet airliner to provide life-like training for a potential real world event,” said Army 1st Sgt. Lyler Bringhurst, WAATS Support Battalion noncommissioned officer in charge. “This facilitated the opportunity for our Soldiers to employ all of the necessary skills and equipment needed to rescue survivors from a plane crash and fight fires.”

While the fire fighters focused on fire suppression and searching for survivors, Soldiers from the troop medical clinic established a triage area for the wounded to assess and prepare them for transport to medical facilities. Military Police secured the simulated crash site and maintained order as necessary.

“Training is ongoing for us,” said Spc. Cory Eckles, fire fighter for the Silverbell Fire Department at WAATS. “Although we train regularly, the opportunity for large scale training such as this provides a whole different dynamic. Seeing all the moving parts working simultaneously helps everyone obtain a deeper understanding of the process.”

WAATS is located at the Silverbell Army Heliport Marana, Arizona and is the premier training site for attack and aero-scout helicopter training for the Army National Guard. The training site also serves both active duty and National Guard aviators with simulation support, utilizing the AH-1 Flight Weapons Simulator or the AH-64 Combat Mission Simulator.