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167th Airlift Wing Conducts Emergency Response Exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle,
  • 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing conducted an exercise to test the response plans and capabilities of the wing’s emergency responders at Shepherd Field 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 area for 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 to 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 12 Airmen who portrayed casualties with varying injuries.

The Wing Inspection Team evaluated the exercise. The WIT’s subject matter experts observed the exercise response and provided feedback, which guides decisions on training needs, resources and plans and policies.

“We exercise to look for gaps in performance and to find undetected noncompliance, 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. The plan is to grow the scope of the exercise each year.