Tri-Cities Airport training drill adjusts the day after fiery crash landing
“This has been in the plans for three years,” said Ben Shearer. “And then something like yesterday happens and it all goes out the window.”
PASCO, Wash. — Right on the heels of the real deal, when a jet set aflame on the runway after landing, numerous agencies held the Tri-Cities Airport FAA training exercise.
It wasn’t due to this plane crash landing; these organizations have been planning this training for years. The drill had to switch things up a bit.
When it comes to a training like this, there is an endless amount of working parts and people making it happen.
This training is required by the FAA. It changes every time they do it; every three years. They bring out a whole bunch of players to take part.
“Both county emergency management offices, both County Sheriff’s departments played a part in this coroner’s office, the hospital districts, the hospital’s medical staff, the airport crane operators,” said Ben Shearer with the Pasco Fire Department.
It’s a practice they didn’t have the chance to put into action before Tuesday’s real event.
“That’s kind of the rough part. This has been in the plans for three years,” said Shearer. “And then something like yesterday happens and it all goes out the window.”
Despite throwing it through a loop, it gave crews a chance to make adjustments and think on the fly.
“My first thought was, ‘That’s mean to do a drill the day before the drill.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh wait, that says ‘fire’ on it,’” said Shearer.
All of this involves coordination with dozens, and sometimes even hundreds of people to make this training happen. From getting Tri-Tech students to play as actors, to staging a triage and performing an entire operation like it was a real crash.
The training is still vital, despite the complications that came along this year.
“This is invaluable training because not very many times do they let us come out on the airport tarmac and use our robotic platforms that we saw earlier going out,” said Officer Jason Crouch with the Richland Bomb Squad. “We have the opportunity to use all the equipment that we have on our truck today, probably.”
With the end of this training exercise, Shearer said it’s time to start planning for the next drill. He said it will take place some time in 2025.
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