Civil air patrol holds mass casualty drill - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Civil air patrol holds mass casualty drill


Being prepared in the event of an emergency situation was the focus of a civil air patrol drill in East Texas. Rescue drills in the woods behind the ALERT academy in Big Sandy was part of a week long session of training by members of the Civil Air Patrol.

"We train like it's the real thing every time. Our primary mission in emergency services is to search and locate the target and then we immediately turn it over to first responders," says Civil Air Patrol Major Sandra Smith.

The drill was to find a downed aircraft and its survivors, and get them to medical care as quickly as possible.

"We have an aircraft crashed and an incident where there are simulated victims; they're not real. The whole point is you practice like you're going to do the real thing at all times," Smith says.

For CAP members, it's critical training.

"The military runs their simulators with blank ammunition; this is our blank ammunition. It's a combination of speed, efficiency and intensity. And teamwork always. Without this hands-on experience, these cadets wouldn't be as prepared as they are," says 17-year-old Wyatt Burton, who's been in the CAP since he was 11.

Over 160 cadets from as far away as Washington state and New Jersey participated.

"They don't pass if they cannot execute it correctly. And in the real world, if you go out there and you don't have the proper skills and you think 'hey, I can just go out there and help...'... You need to be properly trained and that's what this week is all about," Smith says.

The drill is a pass-fail exercise for the cadets. The CAP has 52 wings in eight geographic regions of the United States, including Puerto Rico.

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