Airport drill: 'It's a chance to all work together and make sure that everybody's ready'
NORTH BEND, Ore. - Aviation firefighter Michael Craig responds to the call.
"Dispatch, this is a drill! We have an EMB 135 that has skidded off the runway."
In this training exercise, tower radio says a plane crashed on the runway with 22 passengers onboard, injuries unknown.
The job for firefighters: control and knock out the fire.
"What this does," says Craig, the training officer, "is test the incident management system at the local level."
This is a mass casualty exercise required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Fire crews trained with Bay Area Hospital and Bay Cities Ambulance, law enforcement and the Coast Guard.
"It's a chance to all work together and make sure that everybody's ready for a mass casualty," Craig said.
Tara Pierce, the airport's account manager, agrees.
In this training exercise, she's playing a crash "survivor".
"Our plane crashed and I tried to get out and get away but I collapsed," Pierce said. "I'm going to actually get back-boarded and air-lifted up to Bay Area Hospital. I'm going to go through their trauma system."
Fire crews assess the injuries and categorize them from green - OK - to black, for deceased.
Pierce is marked red.
"It's really important in case we ever actually have a situation like this," she said.