Airport Emergency Drill

  Jeneal McKinleyNov 30, 2016  

As a part of the Federal regulations to keep our airport’s Operating Certificate, FNL is required to perform an annual review of their emergency response. This includes everything from snow and ice removal to emergency training. Usually they create an event and with the help of a table top unit, they work through how to solve the problem, but every three years they must participate in a “live” scenario.

A mock plane crash was planned for September 4th with units from Loveland, Poudre, and Windsor participating. Using the airport’s current carrier as a benchmark where they knew what kind of plane, how many passengers, crew and how much fuel was on board, they then created a scenario of a crash where the plane broke up. They simulated the “plane” with an old bus filled with pallets as the main fuselage, and a van with the doors taped shut for the cockpit, which in the crash scenario had “separated” from the cabin on impact.

Once they set the bus on fire, it was called into 911 as a plane crash drill. It took about four minutes for the fire department to arrive and put out the fire.

Then the rescue began in earnest. A command post was set up and triage began. The victims/patients were EMS students complete with moulage, a quick, cost effective and convincing makeup that creates realistic training. Jason stated that this gave the students a good perspective on what victims’ experience in a real emergency event. He also explained that all emergency units were staged on Earhart to avoid any possible accidents in responding to this exercise. He considered it a great drill.

“The idea was to push everyone to their limits to make sure they had a solid plan in place and to make any changes needed.” He stated. “Although there were no surprises, there is always something you can learn from these events.” He continued. “This makes sure all participants understand how their piece of the event should work. They test how to get in and out safely to the disaster site, communications, chain of command, and other vital aspects that would lead to the success of the event.”

Following the exercise, the airport furnished lunch for the 70 volunteers where they had discussions, raised questions, brought up views and lessons learned that will go into the after-action report that the Loveland Fire Department is responsible for.

The entire exercise only closed a couple of taxi ways and had no impact on the daily activities of the airport.

I am happy to announce both the cardboard pilot and co-pilot survived, after being cut out through the roof of the fuselage.