MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- In preparation for the upcoming Cherry Point air show, several military and civilian organizations participated in a mass casualty exercise April 29 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.
The exercise tested how fast first responders, Cherry Point personnel and civilian personnel were able to respond to a mock aircraft mishap in which a number of air show participants were “injured” and required assistance.
Air shows are inherently safe, largely due to many safety precautions, including intense preparation such as this exercise for any scenario.
“It’s actually a requirement for an air show that we practice certain things to make sure our first responders can get there on time and that all of our command and control are set up properly,” said Grant DeHaven, the exercise director
“The intent is to be able to meet certain requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration and military side, and also just to make sure that everything works from a realistic standpoint before we conduct the actual air show.”
At the start of the exercise, emergency personnel tended to simulated victims with injuries ranging from broken arms to life-threatening injuries.
The responders were timed to see how fast they could treat the victims in order to ensure that the minimal time was taken to treat each one.
“It is important that we are flexible during this type of exercises, because we’re going to have to be flexible in real-time,” said DeHaven.
The air station is expecting more than 150,000 visitors this year and because of the large turnout, additional organizations will assist Cherry Point personnel throughout the air show.
“We set this thing up on base for a reason,” said Col. Chris Pappas III, the air station’s commanding officer. “It is important that we use our imagination and take everything for what it is worth so we can ask ourselves ‘What would I do differently to make this better?’ If we don’t learn, then we won't get a lesson out of it."