San Francisco emergency personnel are training with military aircraft today as part of a drill to prepare for a potential large-scale disaster in the area.
The disaster response training is taking place at the U.S. Coast Guard station in South San Francisco and involves firefighters, other first responders and members of the U.S. Marine Corps, according to Francis Zamora, spokesman for the city’s Department of Emergency Management.
Zamora said the training is simulating “a catastrophic event where the military is helping us out.”
An MV-22 Osprey, an aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, is being used in today’s drill, Zamora said.
The first responders are training on how to properly load casualties onto the Osprey as well as best practices on fighting fires and extracting pilots from aircrafts, he said.
The exercise is a preview of what will take place during next month’s Fleet Week in the Bay Area, he said.
Federal budget cuts prompted the cancellation of the popular Blue Angels air show, but the disaster response training that is a part of Fleet Week will go on as usual, he said.
“One of the things San Francisco worked hard to ensure is that this type of interoperable training continues to take place,” Zamora said.
“Something we like to say in the emergency management business is that we don’t want to exchange business cards during a disaster, so it’s really important for the city to make sure this training continues to happen,” he said.
The exercise began at 10 a.m. and will continue into the afternoon. Training will also take place during Fleet Week, which is scheduled to run from Oct. 7-12.
More information about Fleet Week can be found online at www.fleetweek.us.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News