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First responders simulate plane crash at Mitchell Airport: “Train for real life and hope it never happens”

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MILWAUKEE -- The training is critical, and required by the Federal Aviation Administration. First responders took part in a full-scale emergency preparedness exercise on Wednesday, September 23rd at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

Emergency drill at Mitchell Airport

Emergency drill at Mitchell Airport

The simulation on Wednesday at Mitchell Airport: A downed airliner.

When responding to a disaster like this, you can't go rushing in all at once -- but James Mayer wasn't on the sidelines Wednesday -- even though he was a quarter-mile from the simulated plane crash.

Mayer, a battalion chief with the North Shore Fire Department was listening to the radio chatter as other first responders got to work on the ground.

James Mayer

James Mayer

"They are out working with mutual aid to practice transporting patients from an accident scene," Ryan McAdams with Mitchell International Airport said.

One of many things tested Wednesday was communication between agencies on scene.

"In a real emergency, there is such a great need for all these vehicles -- but we have to control the access and how they get to the area so it doesn't clog up the works," McAdams said.

Emergency drill at Mitchell Airport

Emergency drill at Mitchell Airport

Once first responders established they'd need more help, Battalion Chief Mayer was called in.

"That's the whole idea of the staging area is to organize the responders so everybody responds in a coordinated manner," Mayer said.

Volunteers played patients on Wednesday -- but the acting stopped there.

"Train for real life and hope it never happens," Keith Gardner with the North Shore Fire Department said.

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