Van Buren County Office of Emergency Management, along with county 911 dispatch and emergency responders from throughout the county and surrounding counties, participated in a drill Aug. 18 and 19 to work on policies and procedures when addressing an emergency.

The drill, in this case based upon a mid-air collision between two airplanes, gave crews a chance to work out both administration and response protocols, giving the opportunity for a more considered response in the event of an actual emergency.

The drill took place over two phases. In the first was the tabletop exercise Friday evening where the emergency was outlined and participants had a chance to review procedures and considerations in an open discussion setting.

On Saturday morning the rescue squad was paged out at 9:15 a.m. to search for the simulated airplane wreckage as had been discussed Friday night. Van Buren and Cleburne County squads both participated, as they searched for markers. As a marker was found - often as not deep in the woods - its information was radioed back to the command center, including its location using GPS coordinates.

Marker information had such things as “four people, two with broken legs” on them. The crew would find the marker, radio in the information, then asses what it would take to aid the simulated victims and call for that equipment, if needed.