Ready for Disaster

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The scenario was a nightmare, a transport plane crashing on the base, taking out its fuel farm leaving victims alive and dead, scattered in the brush.

You had to imagine the overturned bus as a C-40 transport jet, but the rest of the scenario was made as realistic as possible. Firemen and medics searching the crash scene for victims, performing triage, identifying the worst injured, readying them for transport.

In a real disaster we wouldn't have this kind of access walking among the injured. We would be here, inevitably part of the process, trying not to get in the way, but doing our job pressing for information.

There's more than role playing going on here. Every step, every decision is being monitored and will be evaluated.

The drill ends with the evacuation of injured by a Nevada Air Guard C-130. If this had been a real disaster, a number of victims would need rapid evacuation to Reno or burn centers elsewhere. The Fallon base doesn't have that capacity. They would call on the Air Guard.

Today the Guard could respond, but the Base Realignment and Closure Commission has recommended taking the C-130s from the Guard. If that happens the nearest transport for a large number of injured would have to be summoned from hundreds of miles away.

And so, the medical help the victims of any mass casualty event could take hours longer. As the base evaluates results of the drill, the possibility those C-130's may not be there in the future, is a matter of concern.