Agencies practice emergency drill at NAS Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Several agencies participated in an emergency drill at Naval Air Station Jacksonville Wednesday morning.

In the drill, a naval helicopter is forced to make an emergency landing.

"The helicopter has, for this exercise, crashed on spot one. That is on the south end of the seawall," said Commander Mark McManus, Air Operations Officer at NAS Jacksonville.

After the plane makes an emergency landing, crews pretend that it catches on fire. The fuel tank also detaches and lands in the St. Johns River. Part of the propeller hits a nearby fuel tanker.

"There is damage to the fuel truck. Fuel is leaking out of that fuel truck," he said.

These events cause a ton of oil to spill into the river. McManus says his crew is prepared to minimize the impact of the oil in the river if a situation like this ever happened.

"Crews are trained up to get the boom out and to boom off any oil spills in the river," he said.

Fire Chief Mark Brusoe with NAS Jacksonville says they have to be ready for any type of emergency, no matter how far fetched the idea.

"Anything within the realm of a major airport, there is a possibility of an event happening," he said.

Fire and security personnel from NAS Jacksonville, air crewmen from HSM-74 "Swamp Foxes" squadron, along with JFRD and and city and state environmental officials participated in the exercise.

It's been nearly three years since JFRD started mutual aid with the base.

"Anytime they request resources for an emergency, we will supply what we have," said Lt. Scott Kornegay with JFRD.

It's a decision that was put to the test as recently as last week when a truck went over the Buckman bridge. It was some of these same agencies that spent hours together, working a scene with one goal in mind.

"Our charter is to save lives and property; that's the number one thing we do," Brusoe said.


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