MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
The 167th Airlift Wing conducted an exercise to test the response plans and capabilities of the wing’s emergency responders at Shepherd Field, Martinsburg, West Virginia, Sept. 16.
The 167th’s security forces and fire department responded to a simulated aircraft crash with mass casualties on ramp space next to the taxiway prompting the activation of the wing’s emergency operations center.
The exercise was held in conjunction with the fire department’s annual training with the West Virginia University Fire Service Extension’s mobile aircraft fire simulator. The simulator can mimic wheel, engine and cabin fires and has a 1,350 square foot pit large area live fire training.
“The benefit of having the aircraft trainer here is to add realism to exercise responses,” said Master Sgt. Donald Broschart, 167th Civil Engineering fire services assistant chief of training. “Live fire allows firefighters see the fire’s reaction to their extinguishing techniques with apparatus and handlines.”
In addition to combating the aircraft fire, the wing’s first responders tended to twelve Airmen who portrayed casualties with varying types and degrees of injuries.
As part of the Air Force Inspection System, the Wing Inspection Team (WIT) evaluated the exercise. The WIT is comprised of subject matter experts who observe the exercise response and provide feedback which guides decision making on future training needs, resources, and plans and policies.
“We exercise to look for gaps in performance and to find undetected non-compliance, so we know where we need to focus our efforts to improve,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn O’Rourke, 167th Inspector General superintendent. “We conduct these types of exercises, so we’re prepared when it happens and we’re ready to react.”
Broschart said the exercise met and, in some cases, exceeded expectations and the plan is to continually grow the scope of the exercise each year.