Mock emergency exercise snarls traffic
Students from the Cayman Cadet Corps lay in the grass, calling for help and moaning. Some had what appeared to be severe burns and bones protruding from arms. Fire trucks from the airport rushed down the runway to the cricket pitch to the mock airplane crash site, with a school bus and students standing in for a plane and crash victims.
The exercise was a mock-up, but the traffic jam was real, as police shut down the roads around the end of the airport runway, snarling traffic as emergency responders from across agencies descended on the area. The annual emergency exercise, this year dubbed “The Real Deal,” had two objectives: take care of the victims, but also take care of family and friends of the victims who show up at the crash site.
According to press releases sent out during the exercise, a “Testing Airlines” plane crashed on the cricket pitch at the end of the runway at 10:25 a.m. There were 83 pretend fatalities and 17 injured, played by the Cadet Corps students complete with staged injuries and fake blood.
Shanda Owens, who helped train the Cadet Corps students to act injured and how to react to the first responders, said this year “is a little subdued” compared to other years she’s helped with. In years past, training exercises have been held on the tarmac, sometimes at night. She said the nighttime exercises make it a more intense experience for the responders.
The Cayman Islands Airport Authority, Airport Rescue, police, Health Services Authority, Cayman Islands Hazard Management and the Red Cross participated in the drill.