Emergency disaster drill trains responders for the worst - WNEM TV 5

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Emergency disaster drill trains responders for the worst

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A full scale disaster exercise took place Wednesday morning in Saginaw County.

The scenario included two disasters happening at the same time, one in the City of Saginaw and the other at MBS International Airport.

The scenario at MBS was focused on response to a plane crash.

"It was super cool. I didn't really know what to expect and I'm really glad I did it," said Madison Kestner, victim actor.

Kestner played the role of a plane crash survivor with abrasions and a neck injury.

"I think it's awesome that we give those people that opportunity to do something real life and know how it's going to feel and what you're supposed to do," Kestner said.

The disaster drill was designed to test the airport's emergency plan.

"Every three years the airport has to go through this disaster drill to help prepare for incident if it should happen, God forbid it does not," Airport spokesperson Philip Shaver said.

He said the three year requirement is part of regulations put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration. He said the exercise was a success.

"We were able to communicate with other agencies and participate with many people that we don't normally do on an every day basis," Shaver said.

People like paramedic Justin Martin, with Mobile Medical Response.

"The goal is to provide extraordinary care to patients and when we do drills like this it helps us work with other departments and fine tune our skills to make sure we're delivering that patient care," Martin said.

Martin said with constant training that patient care will be top notch, regardless of the situation his EMTs are facing.

"Every time we do this it makes us more prepared and hopefully it never happens, but if it were, everybody that was here today would be that much more prepared," Martin said.

Meanwhile, Kestner, a pre-nursing student at Saginaw Valley State University, hopes her part in the plane crash might help get her career off the ground.

"I'm hoping I'll get my foot in the door at different hospitals and things like that. This is kind of my first step," she said.

The scenario in downtown Saginaw focused on a small plane crash that hit a tanker full of chlorine.

The drill was designed to test and enhance the county’s ability to deal with emergency incidents.

First responders pulled dozens of victims from a burning plane during the drill in downtown. Jay Cooper, with MMR, organized the full-scale exercise.

"We are bringing together all the public safety assets as well as the hospitals in Saginaw County and surrounding counties. We are going to practice how we would all respond to and perform during a plane crash at two different sites in Saginaw County, as well as a chemical tank spill," Cooper said.

The drill looked real as actors played the role of victims with serious injuries.

Saginaw Fire Chief Chris Vanloo said the event was a success, but there is room for improvement.

"Anytime you get this many agencies together communication is always an issue. We really work hard at that and we have a great system, but there are always flaws that we have to work out," Vanloo said.

The disaster drill takes two years to plan and is crucial to preparing first responders for the real thing.

"We want to make sure the public safety agencies first learn how to work with each other. Secondly, they should be able to look at their individual plan, both with public safety and hospitals and healthcare, and see how they can beef them up so they work better in a real event," Cooper said.

The drill wasn't the only part of the disaster training.

"Later after this, in the fall we will get together policy makers and talk about community recovers after an event like this. The economical impact, what it takes businesses to get back up and running, how do we make sure the airport gets back open right away - those kinds of things," Cooper said.

>>Slideshow: Emergency disaster drill<<

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