NAPLES, Italy — Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples Capodichino firefighters assisted Naples International Airport (NAP) firefighters in an annual Federal Aviation Administration certification drill April 8 at the Capodichino airport.
The certification simulated a plane crash with mass casualties at the NAP airfield that is shared by the U.S. Navy and Italian government. Italian firefighters were the primary responders, while NSA firefighters were present to assist in retrieving the simulated casualties.
A siren indicated the start of the drill and firefighters jumped into two Oshkosh aircraft crash trucks housing more than 1,000 gallons of water and firefighting foam.
"The drill went well," said Rusty Hesmondhalgh, NSA Naples fire chief. "The main focus of this drill is for our firefighters to work with their firefighters, so the more we train together, the better we will fight together."
The Italian air force, and an airport doctor, also participated and had two ambulances to transport the casualties to the nearest medical facilities. The Italian police and airport police were present to assist.
"Our job was to rescue the people," saidMario Spina, NSA Naples fire station battalion chief. "We go inside these aircrafts after an accident and we never know what we will find. It is very hard work."
The exercise offered NSA Naples firefighters and Italian firefighters an opportunity to work together and become familiar with each other's equipment and response procedures.
"You train the way you are going to fight, so you try to make it as realistic as possible," said Hesmondhalgh. "We have to keep practicing because one day that tone is going to go off and it is going to be the real thing; knowing exactly what to do is going to make the difference, whether it is the firefighter or the victim."