Buda buzzing about training exercise

An overcast sky  and brisk wind typically isn't good flying weather. But for three search and rescue teams, with DPS in the state parks department, the conditions were perfect for what they were doing.

The fire department training facility in Buda Tuesday was a simulated disaster zone. Throughout the day helicopters swooped in and out practicing pickups and landings.

"Communication is probably the most vital aspect of this mission and our ability to communicate internally within the crew but also the guys in the ground in there doing the rest of the boats or heavy trucks that are used to get into the High-water," said DPS Assistant Chief Pilot Tim Ochsner.

That coordination practice also included local first responders.

"This is important for the fire crews because there's a lot of hazards involved in rescue operations especially when we have helicopters and you have to consider the environment they will be working on nighttime operations rain when potential tornadoes, so we have to make sure we understand the equipment and communicate with your crews," said Assistant Fire Chief Langshaw.

The exercise Tuesday was the second time the Buda facility has been used for state training. The  event, however did seem to catch some residents by surprise.

"It was cool seeing them drop down on the house," said Ben Gardner who came out with his father.

The Gardeners  were not alone, several other people drove up to the training center to see what was going on.

"Well I heard them and my dad said, do you want to come down and we said yes,  so we came down, so now we're up here," said 6 year old Isbell Gallard.

Julissa Mendoza brought her father who was in town for the holiday.

"We had to stop and watch,  they're visiting from Laredo so they saw this and were like let's go look at it so we stop by to see was going on."

While it made for an entertaining day for those who watched from the roadside - it was also a reminder of just how dangerous the job is and how difficult it is to be prepared when the real call for help goes out.

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