(WSPA) – Several Emergency Response teams have partnered up with the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team as they prepare for real world emergencies.
Emergencies are being simulated day and night at locations in Greenville, Pickens, and Oconee counties. This training brings together professionals with emergency response capabilities from all over the state.
“When you see different agencies able to utilize their expertise, their talents, their specialized equipment in a combined way to ultimately benefit the citizens, I think that is a pretty remarkable use of talent and resources,” Jonathan Jones, state fire marshal, said.
“We all have to work together,” said Jessica Stumpf, Director Of Greenville County Emergency Management. “Anytime there is any sort of emergency there are multiple agencies that come together. The big pieces of that are coordination, collaboration, and communication.”
The South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team or SC-HART leading the exercises work around the clock responding to any requesting agency in the state. Their hazard capabilities include hoist operations, land or water based, swift water or mountain, and ambulatory and non ambulatory.
Jones said rescues are performed several times during the year in the Upstate.
“This whole exercise is about improving proficiency, maintaining proficiencies, maintaining currencies for the pilots and the crew, maintaining currencies for their certifications for the rescuers,” Jones said. “Certainly it helps us maintain those competencies and efficiencies but then it also helps us improve and learn new techniques.”
While quarterly training is in place, extensive training like today’s scenarios including low-flying military Black Hawk and Lakota helicopters, with local emergency services personnel acting as survivors.
Participating agencies said this training is almost identical to a real-life situation.
“All of our pilots and crew chiefs have been through extensive levels of training to get to this point,”said Lt. Colonel Matthew Summey, Battalion Commander For 2-151st Aviation Regiment. “Almost everybody has done combat deployments and has a lot of experience to put the aircraft where it needs to be to effectively rescue and get the people that are injured and need to be moved to that next higher level of care in a quick amount of time.”
Training will last until Thursday.