Disaster Training Prepares For Future Needs

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TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW)-- The weather can spark disasters at any time in Kansas - and area emergency crews and officials say they are prepared to deal with them, thanks for training exercises on Forbes Field.

More than two dozen volunteers and members of the 190th Air Refueling Wing played-out a mock emergency situation in which straight-line winds caused a plane to crash.

Emergency response teams and law enforcement responded to the "accident" and checked passengers, treated the injured and transported them to the hospital, just like they would in a real emergency situation.

"We really need to make sure we're practicing with our community partners. We can't respond to everything out here on our own. We've got to have participation from the community and we don't practice with them and we have a real incident it won't go as smooth, God forbid that should ever happen," Wing Executive Officer Joe Blubaugh said.

Skylar Dickey is a part of the Wing and was off that day, but decided to come in and volunteer. He said the training actually helps.

"A lot of training, a lot of exercises makes it so it's not so scary in a real incident."

The exercise is designed to test response and recovery plans for the air base in case a severe weather disaster were to hit.

Part of the exercise included coordinating efforts with agencies from Topeka and Shawnee County and how they would during a real emergency.

Blubaugh said the base participates in various situations each year. Last year they did a mock tornado disaster response exercise.

He said they also have mental health professionals on-hand for post-trauma counseling in a disaster incident. They participated in the mock exercise as well.

Posted by Sarah Plake