(ASPEN, CO) – Airport emergency responders will get realistic practice dealing with a full-scale simulated airline disaster at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport on Saturday, September 12th. The “disaster exercise” formally called the “Triennial Full Scale Airport Emergency Exercise” is required by the Federal Aviation Administration every three years. It will include approximately 50 “victims” and “families of victims” played by local volunteers and
“We try to make the exercise as realistic as possible so we can fully practice our ability to quickly and efficiently respond to any emergency that happens on the airport particularly one that might involve a commercial airline or large private aircraft,” said Assistant Aviation Director of Operations, Francey Jesson.
The widely-used “Incident Command System” will be practiced and rescue equipment and personnel will be deployed as if in a real emergency. .
Volunteers will receive full “moulage” or injury simulation makeup for the exercise. First responders will practice determining the extent of injury, treating on the scene and transporting victims to Aspen Valley Hospital. A school or RFTA bus will be used to simulate the aircraft fuselage. Airline personnel will practice dealing with “families” of victims at a cordoned off area of the terminal building. .
The exercise will begin at 9:45 AM at a location on Airport property. The exact site of the exercise has not been widely disseminated to ensure that “responders” don’t know too many details in advance. Normal Airport operations, including scheduled airline flights, will not be impacted and exercise planners have taken every precaution to ensure safety during the exercise. .
Airport and airline personnel will participate along with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department, Aspen Fire Protection District, Aspen Ambulance, Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District, Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District, Aspen Valley Hospital, American Red Cross, Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and a host of local volunteers and actors..
“The public can expect to see, ambulances, and emergency responders of all types in the vicinity of the exercise on the west side of the airport off Owl Creek Road,” Jesson said.