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Mock airplane crash drill gives first responders opportunity to train

Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive AirportMembers of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad and several local first-responder agencies will put their training to the test in a full-scale drill that will simulate an airplane crash at the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport at 11 a.m. on April 8.

First responders from the Blacksburg Fire Department, Blacksburg, and Shawsville rescue squads; LewisGale Hospital-Montgomery; the Virginia Department of Emergency Management; and the Virginia Tech Police Department are also participating in the drill, among others.

In addition to approximately 45 first responders, there will be about 20 volunteers who will play the role of those injured by the crash. Volunteers will wear make-up designed to make their “injuries” look as real as possible. This will allow responders to practice resource coordination and lifesaving interventions in an authentic mock-up scenario.

Setup for the drill will begin at 8 a.m. The drill is expected to start at 10 a.m. and wrap up by 2:15 p.m. Flashing lights and sirens on emergency vehicles will be used during the drill.  A Carilion LifeGuard Med-Evac helicopter will be on scene as well.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be an area sectioned off for spectators.

A similar drill was scheduled for last spring, but cancelled due to inclement weather.

The rescue squad also conducts two mock DUI drills each year (fall and spring) to help educate students and the community about the risks of drinking and distracted driving. These types of drills help keep the rescue squad ready for all types of emergency situations and have led to multiple local, regional, and national awards over the years.

This year, the squad performed exceptionally well at the 24th annual National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation conference, receiving awards and recognition for basic and advanced life-support skills and mass casualty incident skills.

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has served the university community since 1969 and is the oldest collegiate rescue squad in Virginia and the second oldest in the nation. The squad has 40 student members who perform the same functions as a municipal rescue squad and handle about 1,200 calls per year.

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