FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – On Wednesday local first responders held a full-scale disaster simulation at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
Fresno and Clovis fire and police, Fresno Emergency Medical Services (EMS), military personnel, the 144th wing, and airport firefighters took place in the exercise that simulated a crash and tested how crews would respond.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires simulation training of this magnitude every three years.
“One, two, three, four, five, six patients on the ground,” said firefighters over the radio.
Firefighters doused the aircraft as crews carried people off in tarps and into ambulances as part of the exercise.
“I think every time you practice a scenario, it not only gives you the ability to make you feel more confident but it also allows you to look at the areas where you can work on things and be even better the next time,” said Aiport Police Chief Drew Bessinger.
Fresno Fire Captain Keola Park said that aircraft-related fires present a special set of problems including the amount of fuel, passengers on board, and access problems.
“The security component as well adds additional challenges,” said Park. “That is why we do these exercises, so we can identify these shortfalls and improve upon them.”
Over 100 first responders and volunteers took part in the training. Russ Richardson with American Ambulance said it is exercises like this one that helps prepare crews for incidents like last year when dozens were transported to the airport after being trapped in the Creek Fire.
“It gets to test all of our core and target capabilities and it helps prepare for incidents like what we had at the Creek Fire right here to the army national guard,” said Richardson.
No flights coming in or out of the airport were impacted by the training.