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Guard Emergency Responders Gain Practical Road Experience

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Stephen Wilkins
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
Community cooperation took a big step forward as North Carolina National Guard and Charlotte Fire Department emergency crews responded to a no-notice exercise on the grounds here October 8. The simulation; passengers trapped in a vehicle at the bottom of a steep ravine requiring rescue and medical assistance, is an actualization of real world circumstances. "This replicates an actual scenario encountered in theater," said Chief Master Sgt. Daryl D. Cook, 145th Fire Department Superintendent. While deployed, the unit encountered a humvee that tumbled into a gorge, landing upside-down.

Cook said the situation provides several challenges in extricating victims. "Before we can do anything, the vehicle must be stabilized, then maneuvering to safely enter the vehicle, retrieve passengers and prepare them for paramedic personnel attention and transport. The Guardsmen have worked with community emergency crews before. They practice together so that they can work together. According to Cook, "the situation is usually reversed, with the Guard providing support to Charlotte Fire Department operations. "It's great to have them here, though, with equipment, manpower and trucks, if needed. Everyone gains familiarity in this type of exercise, so they are all more valuable whenever responding to calls."

Guard Emergency responders perform quarterly practical exercises to keep procedures fresh. The coordination of these units in exercises, which doesn't happen quite as often goes a long way in ensuring communication of procedures, jargon and codes are understood when their actions are critical.

The North Carolina Air National Guard responds to in-state emergencies, EMAC designated contingencies and federal instances of homeland defense. The unit currently has members deployed I support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and continues to support the War on Terror.