Wis. Members Portray Airport Disaster Victims
Lt. Col. Todd Mandel
Public Affairs Officer
Passengers arriving at La Crosse Regional Airport were surprised to find a taxiway filled with people lying around, rescue trucks on the scene, and an aircraft on fire.
That’s the scene that greeted them, though, as they arrived during the facility’s triannual airport disaster exercise. Among the many “victims” on the tarmac where 19 members of the La Crosse Composite Squadron.
The squadron’s facility served as the host site and staging area for the exercise. Local emergency medical services and police students served as victims alongside the squadron members.
Each victim received a card outlining vital signs, injuries and special considerations. Moulage artists applied makeup and prosthetics to simulate injuries and wounds.
La Crosse Composite members portrayed a range of medical conditions, ranging from a stroke victim who could walk to an individual fatally impaled by a piece of aircraft.
Once the moulage had been applied the volunteers received a safety briefing and walked to the site for positioning. At that point the exercise turned live, with first responders arriving and dealing with the simulated situation.
Cadet 2nd Lt. Elijah Veith served as a victim, he said, because “It just seemed like a unique opportunity that you wouldn’t get normally.”
quadron members were invited to participate because of the unit’s positive relationship with airport administration.
The event required additional planning and action as conditions turned unseasonably cold, with temperatures in the low 40s and wind chill in the upper 30s. The squadron provided jackets and blankets where needed to protect volunteers from developing hypothermia while lying on the cold, windy taxiway.