Exercise scheduled for Thursday morning

By: Q2 News

(City of Billings press release)

BILLINGS – Local hospitals, first responders, and organizations will be put to the test on Thursday, May 18, when Billings Logan International Airport hosts a full-scale emergency exercise.

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that all airports conduct a full-scale exercise every three years to test its Airport Emergency Plan.

“This exercise is a demonstration of our airport’s ability to manage an aircraft emergency,” explained Paul Totton, airport operations supervisor for the airport.

The exercise will be as real as it gets, with a simulated fire and smoke pouring out of a Boeing 737, volunteers donning mock injuries and playing the role of victims, and emergency workers responding to the incident.

The victims will also be transported to St. Vincent Healthcare and Billings Clinic by ambulance and MET buses.

The hospital transportation will likely grab the public’s attention as the St. Vincent Healthcare parking lot at 27th Street and 11th Avenue North will serve as a transition location to get volunteer victims off MET buses, loaded onto ambulances, and taken to an emergency room.

During the drill, all other activity will take place on the airfield and away from the terminal.

There will be no impact on airport operations and the airport will be open during the exercise.

The scenario will begin at 9:45 a.m. and wrap up by 1 p.m.

It’s based on a real-life event that occurred in 1983 when a Boeing 737 traveling from Dallas to Montreal was diverted to Cincinnati.

A fire was reported in the rear lavatory and extended into the cabin.

We would like to thank participating organizations which include United Way, Lockwood Fire Department, American Medical Response, Yellowstone County/City of Billings DES, Billings Fire Department, MET, Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare, Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Division, BIL, HAM radio operators, and volunteers.