Niagara, community participate in accident response exercise
By Staff Sgt. Matthew Burke, 914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 28, 2015
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Members of the base along with local community emergency responders participated in a Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE) on June 27, 2015, here.
This exercise is designed to evaluate the capability of the base to respond to a simulated accident involving mass casualties and evaluate the effectiveness of our emergency response plan. NFARS has an annual requirement to conduct exercises like these to ensure the readiness of both the installation, and the community, in the event of a major accident or disaster.
According to Lt. Col. Bill Schunk, chief of training for the 328th Airlift Squadron, the goal of the exercise is to ensure the base and local community is ready in the event of an emergency and to make sure everyone is on the same page and speaking the same language.
The MARE simulated a plane crash that took place during an air show. More than 70 actors dressed as wounded victims gave the first responders an authentic feel of the event. The response portion of the exercise began at 9:00 AM and included: emergency response to the simulated crash, victim extraction, and triage of patients.
"We're watching it and evaluating it," said Schunk, exercise coordinator for the MARE. "When we're finished we'll take lessons learned and best practices and apply them to exercises in the future."
Across the installation the Emergency Operations Center was established to monitor the exercise as they would during a real-world scenario. The EOC is composed of Wing leadership and key personnel directly involved with a base emergency.
"From our angle it was a very successful event," said Col. Alan Teauseau, EOC Commander, 914th Mission Support Group. "All the weeks of hard work and planning pay off in an exercise like this."
As often the case during these types of base-wide events, the speed and proficiency of various base and community agencies was on full display. High winds and heavy rain threatened the MARE from the beginning of the day. However, the hard work of training coordinators and participants executed the event before the storm moved in.
"Overall, our personnel did a tremendous job," said Schunk. "Fire, medical and Security Forces met their key objectives--We're ready for anything."