Airport emergency exercise

Ambulances, blue lights, and fire fighters on the runway at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport today, a scary sight, but there was no need for alarm. It was only a test.

News 25’s Toni Miles shows us how airport workers and first responders prepare for the worst in a training exercise geared toward public safety at the airport in Gulfport today with Keesler Air Force Base students playing the role of injured and dead passengers.

Director of Operations and Maintenance at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Casey Lyons said, “We had a simulated, make believe airline. We had a regional jet, which is typical of Gulfport, flying in, and the aircraft was taking off. There was some confusion on which runway they were supposed to take off on. They took off on the wrong runway, went through a fence and crashed on airport property.”

“It’s a good way to coordinate the type of injuries the person is simulating. The tag might say that the person has a broken leg or that they can’t speak. Each one is different, and it gives a wide array of injuries for the first responders to react to,” said Lyons.

“The flags delegate where the fire dept. and AMR bring the simulated victims of the emergency, they are triage flags. Depending on the severity of the simulated injuries dictates where the passengers and the patients go,” said Lyons.

The  training exercise is required periodically by the FAA. It’s designed to improve communications and response to any disasters.  “These drills and simulated disasters help prepare us for a real world type incident. It’s an opportunity to come in and exercise our plans, work out all the bugs, make sure everybody can get a hold of the person next to them that is responding to the agency. The fire department has to be able to talk to the police department and so on. It’s critical that everyone provides a unified response.”

“Each agency delegates an evaluator to kind of evaluate their response of each individual agency’s folks coming out here to the airport. There’s a check list to make sure their requirements and airport emergency plan are followed, and whatever company requirements they may have. We’ll have a debrief following this drill, kind of talk about takeaways,  where we did well, where we didn’t do so well, and then go home, take some  more notes, then follow up in a debrief in about a week or ten days.”

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