Airport Prepares for Full Scale Disaster Drill on May 29th
When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport, officials learned what can go wrong during an emergency. Reno-Tahoe International Airport President Marily Mora has studied the crash and the response. "During the Asiana incident, the notification system from SFO failed that day so we actually test our notification system on a weekly basis with all of our airport stakeholders," she said.
The Asiana crash will serve as a training scenario for an upcoming disaster drill at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. "We're going to simulate an aircraft landing short of our runway 3-4 Left,” said Jaime Edrosa, Manager of Airside Operations at the Reno-Tahoe Airport. “It's going to be going through Peckham Lane so it's going to involve some vehicles that are on Peckham Lane," he explained.
Every three years the airport conducts Operation Broken Wing, a full-scale disaster drill required by the FAA.
In 2011 the drill featured a plane crash, multiple victims and a chance for first responders to train as a team. The training would become critical months later during a crash at the Reno Air Races. "We had just had our every-three-year drill which involved the community, a couple of months before that. As you recall, there was a phenomenal response to that incident," Mora said.
Now, as airport firefighters prepare for this year’s disaster drill, they know they need to be ready to respond in an instant. During the exercise, 40 agencies will be working together. "We're looking for teamwork and coordination. But we're looking for good ideas and good strategies," said Edrosa.
This year the training will also include social media. "Social media has become a very important part of that communication aspect with the public, so we will be using social media during this event," Edrosa said.
“We’re prepared for a day that we hope never happens,” said Mora. “But we prepare for that on a daily basis—to be prepared as an airport and certainly as a community.”
The airport will hold Operation Broken Wing on May 29th and officials plan to alert the public before the event. Signs will be posted along Peckham Lane and other roads that will be affected during the exercise.