CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Flames and emergency lights could be seen at the Eastern Iowa Airport on Saturday morning. However, as realistic as the disaster looked, it’s part of a yearly drill to simulate a plane crash and how emergency personnel would respond to it.
This simulated crash tested fire response, team coordination, and the life-saving capabilities of area ambulance and EMS personnel.
In all the chaos, Jacobson said they remained calm.
“They were doing a good job; they were trying to prioritize my airway and breathing, and seeing if I was breathing okay,” said Jacobson.
Acting skills are one thing, but the makeup effects here are what really sell the injuries.
“We have staff members that are good,” said Michael Goldberg, director of Linn County Emergency Management, “and it adds to the realism of the event for the paramedics and the responding units.”
As rescuers go through the 60 or so people playing victims, Mike Goldberg said they have to assess what type of care each one needs.
They also get experience in answering what kinds of questions pop up during hectic scenarios like this.
Organizers also get to be creative with these drills, making sure they’re never quite the same.
“This year we had a prisoner being escorted by a law enforcement officer that was in the crash, and they were separated and one was a fatality, and it makes EMS wonder about the person in the orange jumpsuit, plus it puts a live firearm in play,” said Goldberg.
That’s a job for Linn County sheriffs deputy and paramedic Ben Brink, who appreciates the care and realism put into the drill.
“You can see the injuries that someone has, and know what you have to treat,” said Brink, noting the prosthetics and makeup effects. “The real-life experience is invaluable to us, to help save lives and make a difference.”