Emergency Drill Prepares First Responders For Disaster

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Imagine dozens of men and women with very visible wounds screaming for help. Several others are scattered across a field barely breathing and bleeding excessively. That was the scene in Vancleave Wednesday as first responders worked a mock disaster drill.

"A C-130 Hurricane Hunter plane was actually hijacked and went down," Jackson County Emergency Director Butch Loper said, describing the premise behind the drill.

Loper believes the drill will help strengthen the skills of first responders to handle a real catastrophe.

"Instead of learning from something as it occurs, why don't we practice and get ready for it in case it does happen?"

Paramedics, firefighters, and police officers rushed to the scene to treat 20 victims and get them to safety. EMS Coordinator Jimmy Phares was over the response teams.

"It can turn into unorganized chaos, and we try to make it organized chaos. In order to be prepared in real life, you have to practice it," Phares said.

Communication and teamwork were also key tools in mastering this training drill.

"It is the partnerships you build from doing exercises that are most critical. Responding in an organized manner, and an efficient manner, and an expediential manner can make all the difference between life and death," Loper said.

Kessler Air Force Base helped organize the drill and supplied the plane used in the exercise.