Post Crash Management Exercise at Kleine Brogel Airbase


With the Tiger Meet 2009 International Spotter’s Day coming up in the next few weeks, Kleine Brogel Airbase has been the staging area of a Post Crash Management (PCM) exercise on September 4th 2009.

The scenario worked out for the exercise involved an F-16 fighter which suffered engine problems during the Spotter’s Day. The pilot has no other choice than to drop his fuel tanks and try an emergency landing at Kleine Brogel. Unfortunately in doing so the aircraft got off the runway and hit some aircraft in the static area of the international event. Unfortunately some eight people suffered fatal injuries while 17 others got wounded, some of them severely.

To complicate matters it is learned that the two fuel tanks dropped by the fighter have caused an intense fire near the village of Wijchmaal.

 PCM Exercise KB 2009

Seconds after the accidents, wounded people running away 

 

The main objective of a Post Crash Management exercise is to avoid loss of live caused by untimely or improperly administered medical care in the hectic aftermath of an aircraft accident. To that end, urgency plans and catastrophe plans are elaborated and tested beforehand. Each plan puts the proper emergency personnel and equipment, civil and military, into action to optimally cope with the gravity and magnitude of the occurring accident. Command and control means and experts and equipment of four major post crash intervention branches – fire-fighters, medical staff, security personnel and logisticians – are put to the test during this exercise.

PCM EXERCISE KB 2009

Fire fighters in action while the injured pilot is trapped in his cockpit

Immediately upon the first distress call, all on base rescue services were alarmed. When the extent of the accident became clear the first phase of the urgency medical plan was launched and two fire engines and four ambulances were sent to the scene of the crash. Fire-fighters immediately secured the zone by extinguishing seats of fire and evacuated the casualties to a central triage area. There, medical staff made a first assessment of the victims’ injuries in order to administer in time the proper first medical care to avoid further deterioration of their medical condition. Medical experts also determined priorities for medical assistance and for evacuation to the advanced medical post on the airbase or, if need be, to a civilian hospital in the vicinity. Several civil ambulances and medical intervention vehicles were put into action to cope with the staged calamity. In the meantime, security personnel removed journalists and disaster tourists from the crash site to safeguard their wellbeing and to secure the site for later investigation into the cause of the accident. Personnel of the airbase and of Comopsair also paid attention to crisis communication towards the press and people coming to the airbase in search of information on their next of kin. As such, family and relatives were effectively screened off from over-enthusiastic media representatives.

PCM Exercise 2009 KB

Kleine Borgels' Champlain Padre Eric Pétré assisting injured people with comforting words and spiritual help.

PCM Exercise 2009 KB

The central triage area receiving the first victims.

PCM Exercise 2009 KB

Extracting a wounded pilot from his cockpit, not an easy task.

Having also participated in the 2007 Post Crash Management exercise staged at Kleine Brogel this author noted reassuringly that some of the weaknesses revealed in the previous exercise have all effectively been addressed.

Tiger enthusiasts can be sure that if ever the unthinkable would happen they will definitely be in good and very professional hands.  

 

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 © Daniel Brackx  (September 2009)

with additional photography by Vincent Pierard

Last updated 05/09/09 10:29   Daniel Brackx

daniel.brackx@telenet.be