"The first thing that I did was I just turned to my guys and said, 'We just went over this. Let's go to work.'"
Brian Taylor has been a paramedic for 28 years and saw Jimmy Leeward's P-51 Mustang crash, just a couple hundred yards away. "I've seen situations on a smaller scale, by and large, but nothing of this magnitude."
But it is something he had trained for.
In May, several local agencies came together, at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport for operation broken wing.
A mock plane crash with mass casualties.
"Although you can't have an exact situation replica, you can absolutely prepare people."
They've also planned for different scenarios at the air races for the last 15 years.
In fact, the day of the crash, Taylor and his team had a briefing, not knowing the tragedy that was about to happen. "We all just worked as cogs, in a wheel, and provided just the mechanics of what needed to occur out there."
Kevin Romero adds, "Everyone knows where they're supposed to go and I think if you can set up, initially, it gives you a good groundwork to be somewhat successful."
Paramedics were equipped with small vehicles, ATV's, and four ambulances, on site, before the plane even crashed. "When the smoke lifted, the triage had begun and it began, not just with our personnel, but with citizens that were there to help, as well," says Romero.
Taylor adds, "We can actually transport up to 3 patients, laying down, in the ambulance."
Using 19 ambulances and 3 aircraft, paramedics transported 54 patients in 62 minutes.
Additional personnel came in and 40 ambulances were put into the system in a short period of time. "It's very difficult. You know, you're not on the site and you've got to worry about our community, as well, and the impact of the people that live within Washoe County and the city limits," says Romero.
These REMSA employees say with the quick response and teamwork, they made the best of a horrible situation. "We just saw a very horrific incident and we were able to make some sense of it, to be methodical, and put things together and provide the very best treatment," says Taylor.
Just to give you an idea of how detailed this emergency plan was, they already had a plan in place for which roads would be closed for traffic, except emergency crews.
Since this tragedy, REMSA has received comments from around the country - and as far away as Spain, praising them on the job they did that day.
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:59 AM EDT2013-05-23 06:59:26 GMT
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