Emergency crews practice Saturday for plane crash | AspenTimes.com

Emergency crews practice Saturday for plane crash

Aspen Times Staff Report

No need to call 911 if something goes wrong at the airport this Saturday morning, because just about every emergency response crew in the valley will be there anyway.

Firefighters, ambulance crews, Red Cross workers, a crew from Mountain Rescue, the sheriff’s department, the county coroner and medical teams from Aspen Valley Hospital will be on hand at Sardy Field to practice their skills in dealing with a major air disaster.

The drill is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The two-hour scenario, which the Federal Aviation Administration requires once every three years, is supposed to give local emergency response crews experience in dealing with mass casualties and fire. It will not affect normal operations at the airport, according to a press release from the county.

The drill begins with word to the Pitkin County Communications Center that an AVRO 85 commercial jet has crashed at the airport. Smoke and fire have engulfed the jet, which has lost its wings and tail in the accident. There are as many as 60 potential casualties. Once the communication center contacts the various emergency service providers, the work is under way.

According to the press release, most emergencies at the airport involve the fire departments and airport personnel. “However,” it continues, “such an incident can quickly necessitate aid from other local emergency crews. The ultimate intent is to familiarize appropriate agencies with their roles and responsibilities, capabilities and organizational strengths and weaknesses in order to improve the quality of response in the event of a real emergency.”

For more information, contact Pitkin County emergency management coordinator Cindy Mohat at 920-5234.

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