LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - First responders rushed to the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport Wednesday morning for what appeared to be a plane crash, but the simulation was all part of the airport's triennial safety drill to teach emergency personnel how to respond and treat survivors in the event of a real crash.
The drill allowed them to prepare for possible emergencies and practice their lifesaving skills. They said the drill was a success, but there is always room for improvement.
Dozens of students from Cameron University were on hand to act as survivors of a crash. Emergency crews from the airport and Lawton firefighters rushed to the scene triaging each "victim" and determined who needed help first.
Some had minor cuts, bruises and burns while others had broken bones, and life-threatening injuries. Students from Cameron University said the drill was very realistic.
"I thought it was pretty exciting it gave us an opportunity to train and help the police and fire department," said Freddy Corona.
While first responders were helping out they were also communicating with other departments to establish a plan.
Five ambulances from Comanche County Memorial Hospital EMS and Kirk's EMS were called to the scene and started treating "patients."
Survivor Wendy Foster had critical injuries and had trouble breathing.
"It was good to try to understand their parts and making sure they help people and try to find people that needed help," said Foster.
Airport Security Coordinator Archie Campbell said the FAA requires airports to do these full-scale emergency exercises every three years.
"Everyone here needs to practice these kinds of exercises in case this happens in real life so its best to exercise these things and how we respond to it and what we can learn from the exercises and how we can better communication and how we triage and treat," said Campbell.
Assistant Fire Chief Eric Troutman helped direct the incident commander. He said today's drill was a success, but they want to improve communication between agencies.
"The fire department may use a term that the police doesn't use that EMS doesn't use so communications is probably the primary goal.We all know our job and what we are doing on the scene but getting the right to each other and what is expected is really important," said Troutman.
The survivors from the simulated crash were taken to local hospitals for further evaluations as part of the drill.