Plane crash simulation aimed at saving lives


REDDING, Calif. - Fire fighters, emergency responders and volunteer victims all worked together Friday morning during a full-scale simulated disaster on the Redding Municipal Airport.

The mass-casualty plane crash consisted of multiple parts "fire on the runway, fire to the fuselage itself and a number of victims" explained Division Chief Michael Bachmeyer of the Redding Fire Department.

In the simulation, 31 passengers, onboard a regional jet, crash lands – before burning into flames.

"Communication is key. If anything we were able to test that system today," Bachmeyer said.

Six separate agencies focused on strengthening those communication skills. Crews from the Redding Fire Department, CAL FIRE, the Redding Police Department, Shasta County Sheriff's Office, Red Cross and emergency medical responders all had the same goal in mind – to practice so they could be prepared for the absolute worst.

"Every three years we need to go through a training process, a crash rescue process, to make sure our abilities are up to par if there ever were an incident where an aircraft were to go down," Bachmeyer said.

This scripted scenario took quite a bit of planning to pull off. Even the injuries to the volunteers were predetermined.

"Injuries can all be various from minor scrapes, bruises to very significant life-threatening injuries," explained Bachmeyer.

Being able to adapt to a large-scale disaster situation can be daunting "there's a lot of confusion in any incident. And there's multiple, additional layers," explained Bachmeyer.

Friday's training ensures the proper safety precautions will be taken if a plane crash ever were to happen.

"We have to be ready for that slightest possibility that something does go wrong," Bachmeyer said.