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"Simulated emergency brings real response to Michigan airport"
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Simulated emergency brings real response to local airport
By SCOTT BRAND
The Sault Ste. Marie (MI) Evening News
KINROSS -- Calling it a confidence and competence building activity,
Director Tim McKee of the Chippewa County Office of Emergency Services
said he was extremely pleased with Saturday's drill at the Chippewa
County International Airport in Kinross.
The simulated crash involved 21 nursing students from Lake Superior
State University under the guidance of Associate Professor Mary Anne
Shannon. Wearing make-up and other assorted paraphernalia designed to
display injuries associated with these sorts of emergencies, the
"victims" appeared somewhat realistic to emergency personnel. A burning
fuselage, provided by the Great Lakes Fire Training Association, added a
big touch of authenticity to the early-morning exercise with fire
lighting up the early morning sky.
Responding agencies included the Kinross Township Fire Department,
Chippewa County Firefighting and Rescue, Kinross EMS, Kinross Police,
the Chippewa County Sheriff Department and the Michigan State Police.
McKee added that emergency crews from the neighboring townships of
Rudyard and Pickford also responded, as a crash of this magnitude would
necessitate assistance from other agencies.
McKee said all facets of the emergency response, including the county's
central dispatch system, were tested in the Saturday exercise. While
department heads such as participating fire chiefs were aware of
Saturday's drill ahead of time, the rank and file emergency personnel
were not alerted ahead of time. McKee said all participants were
dispatched to a drill to avoid any undue concern regarding the incident.
"We make these plans for airport emergencies and practice these plans to
help determine if there are any gaps," said McKee.
While he still plans to meet with other participants in the next month
or so, McKee did have some initial impressions Saturday afternoon. For
the most part, he was satisfied with the personnel and equipment. He
added, however, the drill showed either the need for additional fire
hydrants or the development of a plan to call in water tenders and foam
from other nearby departments.
"Practicing like this helps us to become better prepared," said McKee.
The simulated crash drill is required by the Federal Aviation
Administration and is conducted once every three years. The emergency
rehearsal is just one of the federal agency's stringent regulations that
must be met to maintain the Chippewa County International Airport's
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