VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — First responders with the United States Navy, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake held mutual aid training on Monday to help strengthen their relationships proactively — before getting a call for emergencies.
Those from the Navy Mid-Atlantic Region, Virginia Beach Fire, EMS, and police, as well as the Chesapeake Fire Department, met at Naval Air Station Oceana to discuss and train in the event of aircraft mishaps and other calls the departments might have to respond to together.
“That reoccurring training is absolutely essential. You never know when something like that is going to happen and it might not be an aircraft mishap. It could be a fire in a hangar or a fire outside the fence line the Navy responds to as well,” said Bob Geis, deputy city manager for Chesapeake.
Before his current job, Geis was the commanding officer at NAS Oceana. He had taken over the position just three weeks before the 2012 aircraft mishap known as the “Good Friday Miracle,” when a jet crashed in the Mayfair Mews apartment complex.
“Every day I think about it. Every day I think about the ‘Good Friday Miracle,'” he said.
On Monday, Geis spoke with responders about the event, which miraculously had no casualties.
Geis believes mutual aid training that took place between the Navy and the Virginia Beach Fire Department just before the crash helped.
“The response is exactly what we had trained for,” Geis said.
Geis says that event showed how important it was to have strong partnerships and training.
That’s why nearly nine years since the event, the departments are back to continue what they started all those years ago.
“That just really paid dividends,” said Kenneth Snyder about the training leading up to the “Good Friday Miracle.”
Snyder is the district chief for NAS Oceana and JEB Little Creek-Fort Story.
He says the mutual aid training also includes hands-on training and allowed them to discuss with city departments other hazards they might face when it comes to aircraft mishaps.
“The hazards we face on the installations aren’t the same we face out in the town. We’re talking fuel, what the aircraft is made out of,” he said. “This is like a car accident with a little extra stuff on it. Things that EMS and police officers need to be prepared for.”