First Responders Host Emergency Drill at San Angelo's Mathis Field

Published 08/01 2014 09:36AM

Updated 08/01 2014 09:42AM

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SAN ANGELO, TX -- There were lights, sirens, and emergency responders at Mathis Field Thursday. There was not an actual plane crash at the airport; but, they were practicing for the real thing.
"Airport two to engine 8 respond to the station for an escort for fire personnel" was heard over the radio.

The scenario was this: a military T-38 jet pilot doing touch and goes on the runway crashes into an American Eagle plane taxiing for take-off. Only ten people survived. The youngest victim was ten-years-old.

"We simulated the real response. The response from Goodfellow came in real time, response from fire and police came in real time," explained Airport Director, Luis Elguezabal.

Goodfellow personnel, San Angelo firefighters and police, along with Shannon's air med crew....even the Red Cross were there to practice a response.

Elguezabal said emergency communication is vital.

"It helps us establish what we can do and it lets us see what we can improve on- especially in the communications side," Elguezabal exclaimed.

"Hey, where is the helicopter pickup going to be... do you know," questioned one respondent to another.

A lack of communication efficiency was noted the last time emergency responders held a drill at Mathis Field.

"Three years ago we had some other areas to test. One of them was communications," continued Elguezabal.

This is Fire Department Station 8 Captain Patrick Brody's first emergency drill at Mathis Field. He said responders need a second line of communication.

"When we have a unified command situation, when we have outside agencies coming in we don't all share the same radio frequency; so, we need to have a way to communicate," finished Brody. 

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