Things got a little heated at the Ardmore Airpark on Saturday.
Several area departments and first responders participated in a mass casualty exercise at the airpark, which simulated a scenario in which a plane crashes just short of the runway and catches fire, leaving dozens injured or deceased. A mass casualty exercise is done annually at the airpark and this year’s involved several county agencies.
“The air park likes to try to have a county wide training once a year and that’s what we did today,” Jason Woydziak, Ardmore Fire Department public information officer, said. “We simulated a plane crash on the approach of the runway.”
Woydziak said along with AFD, the Airpark Fire Department, Springer Fire Department, Smokey Valley Fire Department, Sherwood Shores (Texas) Fire Department, the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service, the Community Emergency Response Teams and the Air Evac Lifeteam all participated in the exercise. The exercise allowed the agencies to work together like they would in a real life situation.
“Joint exercises is the key to any training,” Bill Jones, with the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service, said. “If you train with different companies you all get on the same page and get to know what everybody’s capabilities and weaknesses are.”
To kick off the simulation several volunteers got into position with “injuries” and presented themselves as if a crash had just occurred. The “victims” also had fake blood and injuries in order to simulate massive casualties, injuries and further immerse those participating in the exercise. A large collection of pallets were then set ablaze, simulating the intense fire that would be on the site of an accident.
“We wanted to simulate what it would be like to go through an airplane door and put the fire out,” Woydziak said. “Those doors don’t open like a normal door so it takes a little to get through there. So we want them to see what that was like and then how to rescue patients out of their seats. ”
Woydziak said the live fire drills are helpful not only because they provide life-like training experiences, but can help firefighters get comfortable in their own gear.
“The live fire, especially with volunteers, they don’t get to get close to a lot of fire and it’s good for them to get a chance to see what our gear will withstand,” he said. “A lot of it is for our guys to just get comfortable with their gear more than the fire itself.
“It’s really just to be comfortable and see this will protect me.”
Jones said the hands on experience is helpful for all the agencies.  
“It’s a great training issue,” Jones said. “In a real situation we’d have lines of ambulances and we all would be working together.”