CAFB gives military aircraft crash training

Two oxygen masks for pets were given to the West Point Fire Department and Clay County volunteer fire departments by a national campaign by the Invisible Fence Foundation.
Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

Columbus Air Force Base Assistant Fire Chief Gary Crosson was the keynote speaker during the Local Emergency Planning Committee quarterly meeting on Monday, and he gave training advice for first responders in case of a military plane crash in Clay County.

Crosson said there are three types of aircraft at the Columbus Air Force Base: the T-6, the T-38 and the T-1. The main threat if a T-6, which holds two passengers, were to crash would be the propellor, along with fuel and seat ejection.

The T-38, which also holds two passengers, has hazardous intake and exhaust that can reach 900 degrees.

The T-1 typically carries two student pilots and one instructor but can carry up to seven people, and also holds a threat of fire due to fuel.

Crosson said if a military aircraft crashed, West Point and Clay County first responders would be on scene first, and their first priority would be to look for pilots and to secure the scene.

Crosson said first responders can usually look for fire to locate a crash, and CAFB will send firefighters but can't secure a scene with armed staff.

“We don’t expect flights to go down, but in the 17 years I’ve been here, it has happened several times,” Crosson said.

Crosson said no munitions or classified information are carried on CAFB aircraft.

“Treat it like a non-military airplane,” Crosson said. “Protect the area. Protect the people.”

Also during the meeting, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine associate professor Dr. Carla Huston gave two oxygen masks for pets to the West Point Fire Department and Clay County volunteer fire departments and two to the Starkville Fire Department through a national campaign by the Invincible Fence Foundation.

Huston said the MSU vet school also has two masks to use for training.

Clay County EMA Director Kerrie Gentry gave updates about the county’s grants.

Gentry said a mitigation grant for West Point and Clay County for 14 community storm shelter sites is still pending.

Gentry said a mitigation grant for two new warning sirens at a cost of $45,000 has been completed, and the two new sirens have been installed behind City Hall and on Hamlin Road.

A 2017-2018 LEPC grant is still pending. The first priority for the grant is to purchase a railcar training package kit for $13,190 with matching funds for the city of $3,297 and county of $1,648. The second priority for the grant is to purchase 27 Garmin’s for $2,700, and the city and county would pay $675 depending on distribution.

Gentry said a 2017 Homeland Security Grant to purchase a prime mover to pull the mobile command center for $34,906, hydrant marking system for city and county fire hydrants for $9,100 and an ID badging system for $6,287 was denied.

The next quarterly meeting will be Jan. 20, 2018.