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Major Accident Response Exercise cut short

The 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph Missouri, participates in a joint exercise with civilian authorities on March 25, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Barb Denny) (RELEASED)

A joint endeavor. Photo by Maj. Barb Denny

4 April, 2009 --   A real world emergency call interrupted the Major Accident Response Exercise held March 25. Even though the exercise was cut short, valuable lessons were still learned from the event.
  A MARE is one of the six required exercises that must be performed by the unit each year. This year's event included participation by the City of St. Joseph airport authority, local emergency responders and law enforcement departments from the city and county. 
   "This exercise allows us to test our response and work out any kinks in our emergency response plan before we may need it," said Major Byron Newell, exercise and evaluation team chief. "It is imperative we be able to communicate with other agencies during a crisis and know what each other is doing before we have an actual emergency."
  The scenario for this exercise involved a C-130 hitting a flock of birds and colliding with a civilian aircraft on the taxiway. Shortly after the fire department arrived at the staged scene of the C-130 and simulated civilian aircraft on fire, they received a real world medical call. 
   Even though personnel were not able to physically complete the exercise, they were able to talk through the rest of the scenario as a tabletop exercise.
  "We were still able to validate our emergency response plan and discovered some areas we want to improve on," said Newell.
  Personnel and EET members involved with the exercise will compile their lessons learned and update the 139th AW's emergency response plans.