Mass casualty training prepared first responders for fatal train - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mass casualty training prepared first responders for fatal train-bus crash

Both Biloxi fire and police departments said they're thankful to Keesler for hosting the training for first responders. (Photo source: WLOX) Both Biloxi fire and police departments said they're thankful to Keesler for hosting the training for first responders. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Biloxi police and fire chiefs are crediting training exercises for the quick response to Tuesday's deadly crash involving a train and charter bus.

A recent mass casualty train crash training exercise took place at Keesler Air Force Base.

"It helps the Biloxi Police Department. We don't have the assets or the equipment to put on an exercise of this magnitude. Keesler does," said Capt. Harold Windom, with the Biloxi Police Department.

"We train for skills we hope we never use. That was not the case yesterday," Deputy Chief of Training for the Biloxi Fire Department John Jennings said.

Both Biloxi fire and police departments said they're thankful to Keesler for hosting the training for first responders, which fully prepared them for Tuesday's emergency.

"When we can work together, it just makes us a more cohesive unit.  We know how they work. They'll know how we work," Windom said.

"We can all seamlessly respond to and support each other when an incident like yesterday happens," said Keesler's Installation Emergency Manager Matthew Jalufka.

Jennings said they do mass casualty event drills once or twice a year.

"We even looked at charter buses to know about them, their hatches, what to take out, what not to touch, and it prepared us well for yesterday," said Jennings.

"I have to say the local community did well with the triage and taking care of things. We got there ready to help, and they'd already taken care of most severe cases," U.S. Air Force Maj. Bruce Callahan said.

"The one thing I can never duplicate is the adrenaline that happens on the real scene, which kicked in yesterday,” said Jennings. “They knew the need. There was a lot to do. They did lots of work in a short amount of time."

Callahan said AMR, Acadian Ambulance, and Merit Health Biloxi all participated in last month's mass casualty training as well.

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