Minerva Volunteers from emergency response teams in Minerva and the surrounding communities Sunday, June 3 participated in an annual emergency drill.
Their mission: secure a plane crash site and provide medical attention to any survivors.
Representatives from K-9 Search and Rescue, the Johnsburg EMS and volunteers from Pottersville and Newcomb joined the Minerva’s Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad for the event.
Volunteers began gathering at the Minerva Town Hall shortly after 11 a.m. The Town Hall served as the drill’s command center. Every participant had to check in upon arrival, and when all the volunteers assembled, preparations began.
Patty Warrington, who organized the drill along with Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey and Mark Sullivan, briefed the group on the day’s objectives. All three stressed the importance of communication. It was the most important aspect of the exercise, the one that needed the most improvement after last year’s drill. Each volunteer had a radio so they could communicate with people in the field as well as with the communication centers located in the Town Hall and Minerva firehouse.
The actual drill took place in the woods across from Healey Road. The victims — volunteer actors with fake injuries — went to the scene first. After they took their places, a radio call went out announcing the crash. A caravan consisting of two ambulances, a fire truck, and volunteers’ personal vehicles made their way from the Town Hall to the crash site.
While the volunteers knew the location and type of emergency, they had no prior knowledge of the drill’s specifics. Everything they encountered at the scene was completely new, ensuring a true test of the volunteers’ skills in the field.
The first sight that greeted them was a smoking, but thankfully unexploded fuel tank and other bits of plane debris scattered about the scene. The fire department took care of the fuel tank swiftly and efficiently, allowing the EMS volunteers and Cash, the search and rescue dog, to begin the hunt for survivors. There were four in all, with injuries ranging from severed limbs to exposed organs, in different locations throughout the woods. All of the injuries were consistent with what a real plane crash victim might suffer.