POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 3:39pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 6:52am
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — Multiple first responder agencies, including the Coast Guard, Beach Patrol and Fire Department, teamed up for South Padre Island's first ever large-scale simulated beach rescue operation.
The first responders collaborated for an emergency drill involving significant injuries to eight-plus people in the water.
"With the Island's first ever simulated beach operation of its size, first responders were better able to determine their areas of weakness and work on their communication with one another so that the number of beach accidents will be minimized."
"Every year we do have small instances of emergencies, nothing to this scale but being ready and practicing for large scale emergencies, um, really helps organizations be affective when they actually do happen," said Cameron County Beach Patrol Chief, Michael Johnson.
"The drill was a simulation of vessel collision offshore, uh, which involved large number of people who were injured and needing assistance in the water," said Commanding Officer for the US Coast Guard - South Padre Island, Lt. Joshua Sagers.
A helicopter response from Airstation Corpus Christi simulated the rescue of victims with severe injuries who needed to be airlifted rather than pulled back through the surf zone.
Officials won't get a review of their drill performance until next week, but their devotion to teamwork spoke for itself.
"this is a great opportunity for us all to get together and I think that, uh, we're gonna be able to collaborate in the future with the common goal of improving public safety here on the beaches," said Lt. Sagers.
"The better organizations can work together, the better that they'll be able to rescue people in the future," said Johnson.
Reporting from South Padre Island, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.