Sikorsky disaster drill a success

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2000

Staff Writer

Firefighters responded quickly, but thankfully it was not the real thing.

As part of a mandatory annual drill Thursday morning, Sikorsky Aircraft Fire Rescue put out a fire meant to simulate a helicopter crash at the Troy Municipal Airport.

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At 10:30 a.m., the airport’s tower reported a helicopter crash at the airfield. In a matter of minutes, firefighters from Sikorsky Support Services Inc. were on the scene and the injured "victims" were pulled from the aircraft.

Soon after the call, officers from the Troy Police Department secured the perimeter of the airport.

Paramedics from Haynes Ambulance Service were soon on the scene to assess the injuries. The two aircraft occupants were found to have spinal and head injuries among broken bones.

The U.S. Army’s Flatiron, which is a rescue aircraft, transported the "injured" to Edge Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Col. John Cover Jr., who handles government oversight contracts for the U.S. Army, said he was pleased with the drill.

"Three to four minutes is what they have to have as response," Cover said of the drill requirements.

"From my perspective, it is the things that happen in that first 15 minutes that really matter."

He said not having victims out within in five or six minutes reduces the chance of their survival and Sikorsky officials answered the call in just over four minutes.

That response time, combined with adequate equipment and personnel made for a successful drill.

"Sikorsky has more than enough equipment," Cover said, adding it’s important to respond with "the right equipment, the right number of people in the right amount of time.

"From every aspect, it’s a success," Cover said of Thursday’s simulated crash.

Normally, Sikorsky conducts two drill each year.

Yesterday’s drill involved the Emergency Management Agency, Troy Police Department, American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle from Montgomery, E-911, U.S. Army Tower, Haynes Ambulance Service, U.S. Army’s Flatiron and Edge Regional Medical Center. The Troy Fire Department was supposed to participate, but the Wednesday night fire in downtown Troy made participation almost impossible.