FLINT — Bishop Airport hosted the tri-annual “Live Disaster Drill” May 16.
The tri-annual live simulation included a fire in an airplane and a chemical spill or “Hazmat incident” at CN Railroad, located north of the airport.
The purpose of the drill is to “ensure the safety of passengers flying in and out of Bishop International Airport.”
The drill started with a false alarm at the airport tower which signaled that an aircraft crashed at the CN Railroad yard on the north side of Bristol Road.
The alarm signaled for the Airport Rescue and Firefighting Unit to start the drill in real time as if it were an actual emergency.
The American Red Cross, local fire departments, area police departments, county paramedics, area ambulances and hospitals, emergency response organizations and agencies, Genesee County Emergency Management, MTA, CN Railroad, the Civil Air Patrol and airline and airport employees were all a part of the drill.
Genesee Area Skill Center provided the “patients” or people who were hurt in the crash.
Genesee County Sheriff, Robert J. Pickell said in a press release, “We hope that we never have a disaster of this magnitude in the county, but if we do, we want to know that we are prepared for it, so we are making this exercise as realistic as possible. There are some Special Forces from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in town training with our Paramedic Program this month, and we are pleased to be able to include them in this drill.”
Lieutenant Dan Owen, of the Airport Fire Department, played a major role in planning the drill.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires Bishop Airport to have a drill every three years.
Bishop has been having these drills every three years for the past 20 years.
This is the first year Bishop has partnered with Flint Township.
“This one was so unique because we had two different jurisdictions involved,” said Owen.
The drill lasted until about 9:22 p.m.
“We wanted to extend this and play as long as we could so we could identify any problems with the plan,” he said. “We wanted to see how all the pieces of the puzzle came together. It was a huge success working with Flint Township.”
Owen said he will start planning for the next drill in Feb. 2015.
“This one (Bishop
Airport/Flint Townhip) went really quite smooth. We found out what worked and what didn’t work,” said Owen.
He said EMS worked well, road and evacuation of areas, Hazmat, area hospital transports aso went really well.