Don’t panic — Yakima Air Terminal is hosting an emergency exercise

Yakima Air Terminal
Image credit: The City of Yakima, Facebook

YAKIMA, Wash. — A full-scale exercise will draw emergency first responders to Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field for three hours on Thursday, September 30.

According to an alert from the City of Yakima, the emergency scenario will simulate an aircraft accident on the West General Aviation Apron of the passenger terminal building. It will last from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a passenger bus will be brought in to represent the downed aircraft.

Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field Director Rob Peterson says that this full-scale exercise is required every three years under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

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It’s not expected to impact traffic at 24th Ave and Washington Ave, but community members should expect to see first responders rushing through the area.

“People will see a variety of emergency response vehicles responding to and encompassing the exercise site,” Peterson said. “However, it will only be an exercise so there’s no need for the public to be worried. Flights will continue as scheduled and will not be impacted by the exercise.”

This year, the precautionary exercise is being adjusted for COVID-19 in a variety of ways. One example of these adjustments is that first responders will practice care for crash injuries using mannequins instead of volunteers.

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This way, they will be able to limit virus transmission while still meeting their FAA requirements.

“The exercise will be on a smaller scale than we might have witnessed in previous years,” Peterson said.

This exercise is part of a collaboration between the Yakima Fire Department, Yakima Police Department, Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management, and Alaska Airlines.

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