Area First Responders Ready Again For Air Races

RENO, NV - Last year's Reno Air Races ended in tragedy, a crash killing 11 and injuring more than 60. It tested the readiness of local emergency agencies.

Those who took part say the plan worked and they're even better prepared now.

It was an incident no one expected, but many had prepared for. An aircraft plunging into the ground in front of the stands, sending deadly debris into the box seats.

"It sort of sucks the air out of you," says St. Mary's Medical Center emergency nurse Julie Morgan. "And then you're like 'I know what I'm going to do because I've done it a hundred times in drills."

She was stationed at Stead that day as were other emergency responders. Back at the hospital, Dr. Jenny Wilson was on duty. Receiving her first patient she said delivered a momentary shock.

"There was a moment," she says." when I just wanted to run out of my body and run away. "Then immediately, that's what the training is for, I said to myself this is what you've trained for, you've practiced this scenario a thousand times. Do it."

They were joined by others, spectators with medical training, who rushed to help.

"It was amazing the way how everyone just sort of became a community and a family out there to save lives," says Morgan.

"At one point every single patient here had their own doctor and their own nurse," adds Wilson.

And that set the pattern. It was an extraordinary event, but training and experience paid off, as did planning. By all accounts, it was a well-coordinated multi-agency response.

That plan, they both say is one thing that needed little change.

Still, they say on a personal level, today they are even better prepared.

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