Yuma, AZ - Marine Core Air Station Yuma and various local agencies prepare for an emergency situation with Exercise Desert Impact, a simulated exercise that allows them to prepare for a real disaster by practicing first response and engaging with the media.
Col. Robert Kuckuk the Air Station Commander for MCAS says "We simulated a tornado like wind event that happened on the air station and destroyed a number of buildings." He says it's vital to take the time to create these fake scenarios in order to ensure they are prepared for the real deal. Col says if something did happen there wouldn't be much time for excuses as to why they weren't prepared.
So, twice a year MCAS and participating local agencies spend the time to ensure their ready especially right before large upcoming events. Col Kuckuk says, "We just got done practicing a mass casualty or a significant event like this prior to going to the air show so that it's fresh on people mind."
Col. Kuckuk says from his experience if the exercises are done too often they will be less effective. He also says they couldn't be done properly without the help from agencies such as border patrol, the police department and sheriff's office along with the fire departments and YRMC. Col Kuckuck says, "without the participation of all we might as well sit in a room and talk about what we would do." He says although sitting in a room talking about a mass casualty has its place, in the end it looses its effectiveness because it lacks interaction.