Airport conducts mock plane crash drill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Airport conducts mock plane crash drill

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October 17, 2007

Albany --Fire trucks and ambulances roared across the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport a little after ten, responding to a mock plane crash.

Turner Job Corps Students wore realistic makeup to be more believable crash victims in the Disaster Exercise, cried out in pain. Airport Police Chief Bernard Ford said "we've got 18 victims scattered about the aircraft and around the aircraft."

 The airport fire trucks spray water on the crashed plane at the end of runway 16, to put out the fire. A short time later Albany Fire Department trucks and Dougherty County EMS ambulances arrive to help.

 Injured passengers aboard the burning plane were helped off by firefighters. A couple of the students played dead. The rest were checked by paramedics, and loaded into ambulances and taken to hospital emergency rooms as part of the drill. Airport Director Yvette Aehle said "to simulate what would happen and how many people would be involved if we had an airplane crash on the airport."

Airport officials say they set up this exercise at the back of the airport, so firefighters were called to different gates, knowing it could cause communications problems. Albany Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Jefferson said "We did experience one problem where we could not communicate directly with them. So that's something we have got to work out."

Find problems and work them out during drills, before lives really hang in the balance.  Aehle said "all of it is a big learning experience for us. And we need to keep in the back of our minds that anytime we could have one of these happen."

Planes and jets landed and took off during the disaster exercise,  over the heads of first responders training in the event of the worst.

Airport officials will hold a meeting with all the First Responding agencies in two weeks, to go over what they learned from the disaster exercise. A report will be issued to the F.A.A., which requires a disaster exercise every three years.

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