SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - As we prepare for yet another hurricane to head our way, one state group is also preparing to save lives.
The Georgia State Defense Force trained for natural disaster response Saturday, in their most involved and complicated exercise to date. It was also their largest training exercise - with more than 300 dedicated troops, three aircraft, and support from the Army National Guard.
Officials say hurricane season is a great example of when the force will step in when needed.
"Education is important on the back end but training is important on the front end," said Commanding General Thomas Danielson, Georgia State Defense Force. "Usually there's not much time if there is an event. There's very little time to get ready and get all your gear ready and go out."
Hundreds of troops from across the state with the Georgia State Defense Force suited up for their annual training to prepare them for a natural disaster or emergency.
"It's critical that everybody is confident in their training," said Danielson.
Three aircraft's were used to practice a search and rescue effort as well as picking up mass casualties to bring them back for triage and treatment.
"We'll come in and assist the local community alongside the guard and personnel to bring security and safety back to the community and also go out and search and find those people who may have been injured," said Georgia State Senator Captain Judson Hill of the Georgia State Defense Force.
Injured patients are then brought in by air to a hangar where they determine their health status.
"The patients have been preliminarily triaged in the field and so when they come here they come to green, yellow, or red rooms based on their injuries and then we provide the care from there until they're ready to be transported back out," said SFC Alecia Walgrave, Field Medic.
They're training to get better at what they do, which includes strengthening and supporting the Georgia National Guard.
"And what happens in a natural disaster like a hurricane is we'll be called out to do security force to come in and do traffic control," said Commanding General Thomas Danielson.
The men and women of the Georgia State Defense Force are comprised of volunteers who want to give back to protect and assist people across the state.
"The bottom line is we're here to support the people of the state of Georgia," said Danielson.