First responders come together to sharpen emergency skills - - Columbia, South Carolina

First responders come together to sharpen emergency skills


An emergency can happen anytime and anywhere.

A staged mid-air collision between two helicopters had multiple agencies come together as if the situation were real to help more than a dozen victims.

"There's fire, there's debris prior to getting to the casualties," Col. Todd Shealy of McCrady Training Center said. "So, we exercise all those different aspects of this emergency situation."

Military and civilian first responders took control of the scene and helped victims to ensure their safety. A LifeNet helicopter was also on hand to assist critical patients.

"We had a combination of Air Force, Army, civilian and McCrady units all responding," McCrady Assistant Fire Chief David W. Shillibeer said. "Even though we've never done this before, we all fell in together and worked like we've done it forever."

According to Shealy, these full-scale exercises conducted about once a year were done without giving responders prior notice in order to measure times and find where gaps are in communication or conditioning.

"We're out in a training area where it may be not as easy to roll a gurney on with small wheels," Shealy said, "and, maybe, two firefighters responding, putting a soldier on a backboard that may be fairly heavy."

Monitors evaluated each station to look for ways to improve efficiency and save lives.

"Our total goal is to make sure we're prepared to save a soldier's life and/or any civilians that may be here at McCrady Training Center or elsewhere."

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