Members of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad and several local first responder agencies will put their training to the test in a full-scale drill that will simulate an airplane crash at the Virginia Tech airport  at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 19.

First responders from the Blacksburg Fire Department, Shawsville Rescue Squad, LewisGale Hospital - Montgomery, and the Virginia Tech Police Department and Office of Emergency Management are also participating in the drill.

In addition to the about 45 first responders, there will be about 30 volunteers who will play the role of those injured by the crash. Volunteers will wear make-up designed to make their “injuries” look as real as possible.

Setup for the drill will begin at 9 a.m. The drill is expected to start at 11 a.m. and wrap up by 3:15 p.m. The northbound lane of Research Center Drive, from Pratt Drive to the Aquatic Fisheries Center will be closed throughout the drill to allow first responders to access the accident site. Flashing lights and sirens on emergency vehicles will be used during the drill.  A Carilion LifeGuard Med-Evac helicopter will be on scene as well.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be an area sectioned off for spectators.

The drill was the brainchild of Virginia Tech Rescue Squad Chief Chris Eyestone, a junior from Blacksburg.

“It just makes sense that with such marked university growth on the horizon, including the runway expansion project, that we prepare for the type of scenario that could very likely happen at our airport one day,” said Eyestone.

The simulation is intended to give first responders the opportunity to train and work collaboratively. The rescue squad also hosts an annual mock DUI event showing dangers of distracted and drunken driving each spring.

For more information about the drill, contact Eyestone at 540-605-6111.

Virginia Tech Rescue Squad

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has served the university community since 1969 and is the oldest collegiate rescue squad in Virginia and the second oldest in the nation. The squad has 40 student members who perform the same functions of a municipal rescue squad and handle about 1,200 calls per year.

Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport

The Virginia Tech Airport officially opened in 1931. Prior to World War II, the airport was used to train cadets. Today, the airport serves the university, as well as the Corporate Research Center, and a number of private pilots. It is now called the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport. The airport is located at 1601 Research Center Dr. Parking is available in the airport parking lot and across the street at the Corporate Research Center.

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