Sunday, June 11, 2000

Mock drill shines skills


Fake disaster impresses chief

By Travis Mayo
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        VILLA HILLS — Nuggets of glass from the shattered rear window of an overturned Plymouth Omni, a Buick sedan with its top peeled off as if it were a convertible and two mashed doors of a Ford van somehow pried open — all remnants of a fire and emergency drill Saturday just outside of Bromley.

        All of that, along with 15 “victims” freed from the vehicles, treated and transported in about an hour.

Keeping skills sharp
        The mock disaster, which happened in a parking lot on Route 8, brought fire and emergency personnel from Crescent Springs, Ludlow and Bromley together.

        “After 37 years on the job, you think you've seen it all, but you haven't,” said Terry Keller, 53, of the Bromley Fire Department. “You need these drills to keep your skills sharp.”

        The drill looked more like reality, with personnel rushing around, scrambling for equipment. Two young girls lay underneath their bicycles in a ditch just beyond the wrecked vehicles, playing the part of victims hit by the van. Each victim was covered in red theater makeup. There was even a bystander, a woman who said she made the first call to 911 and appeared shocked at the scene.

        “It was real,” said Amber Fredrick, 25, who was pulled from the van.

The "victims'
        The two cars were donated by Thomas Garage in Bromley and the van was donated by a Crescent Springs resident. The victims were either family and friends of firefighters and emergency personnel, or high school students who are part of the Crescent Springs Fire Department cadet program.

        Crescent Springs Fire Chief George Bruns was impressed with the drill and said he wants to keep the practice going, with more departments and different situations.

Working together
        It was a scene that John Fredrick, of Crescent Springs Fire Department, never wants to drive onto. But if he does, he wants to know that different departments can work together to save lives.

        “I know if I'm in a wreck, these are the guys I want working on me,” said Mr. Fredrick, 37. “Twenty years ago, if we'd have had this same situation, it would've taken us hours and I'm sure we would've had fatalities.”

       



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