Range Regional Airport Holds Emergency Plan Training

By KBJR News 1

September 25, 2012 Updated Sep 25, 2012 at 7:13 PM CDT

Hibbing, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Range Regional Airport held their triannual live training of their emergency plan Tuesday.

Airports with commercial air service are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to complete this practice every three years.

"We play out the actual exercise as if it were a real world event," said Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority Executive Director, Shaun Germolus, "We train monthly, we train annually and I think that everybody is pretty confident that if something were to happen that we're ready to respond and we'd have a pretty good outcome."

The drill simulated a crash landing. Emergency personnel from nearby departments responded as they would if the crash really happened. The events were timed as accurately to a real world situation as possible.

"We brought vehicles onto the scene as if it took them awhile to get here from their responding agency buildings," said Germolus.

About 26 volunteers acted as victims in the training, allowing emergency responders to practice taking care of and transporting plane crash victims.

"I'm in pretty tough shape. I've got head, cervical, spine, neurological and motor [injuries]," said volunteer David Maki of his role as a plane crash victim.

In addition to the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority, the agencies involved in the training included: The Hibbing, Chisholm, Virginia and Keewatin Fire Departments, Hibbing Police Department, Virginia and Eveleth EMS, Fairview and Virginia Hospitals, St. Louis County, RACES (amateur radio communications), Red Cross, 9-1-1, LifeLink, the Transportation Security Administration, St. Louis County chaplain and the public works department.

"They're very serious about their training," said Germolus about those involved, "They're very well–prepared."

Volunteers watched the training while sitting nearby, part of their role as plane crash victims. They said that the practice was fun to watch and reassuring to know the emergency personnel were preparing in case an emergency ever happened for real.

"It is interesting, knowing that they're prepared for if something happened here," said volunteer Norma Fimrite.

The airport authority and the departments involved in the practice will hold a formal debriefing in two weeks to further assess their emergency plan.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.