Simulated airplane crash drill gives first responders chance to train

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BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - Members of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad participated in a full-scale drill of a simulated accident at the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport.

The drill served as an opportunity for multiple agencies to learn from one another.

"There were a lot of learning points, community was key, there was also inter agency communications, so a lot of other agencies coming in working with them," said Prattyak Mukhopadhyay, member of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad.

Some 45 first responders from the Blacksburg Fire Department, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and numerous other agencies worked in collaboration with 20 volunteers who played the role of those injured.

"Trying to work with going to the hospital coming back with so many patients at hand treating them everything like that," explained Mukhopadhyay.

More than a dozen emergency vehicles were used including the Carilion Lifeguard Med-Evac helicopter for the drill.

"It went great they did a really good job they involved a lot of agencies and included us so they kind of covered all their basis of what could happen in a real incident," said RN flight nurse, Shannan Paitsel, of Carilion Clinic Lifeguard.

When asked what was most challenging, participants talked about communication.

"Through the years of being in EMS, it's always a challenge, it's always going to be a matter of finding better ways, including everybody on the same page," said Paitsel.

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad currently has 40 student members who perform the same functions as a municipal rescue squad, handling more than 1,000 calls per year.