Tri-Cities Airport Conducts Emergency Airfield Exercise

Blountville, Tenn. – Tri-Cities Airport, along with mutual aid agencies in and around Sullivan and Washington Counties, held a mock disaster drill at the Airport Wednesday, June 10. The exercise took place at the cargo ramp on the south side of the airfield.

The drill simulated a mock crash of a 76-seat regional jet en route to Tri-Cities Airport. For this exercise, the Airport teams simulated 56 passengers and four crew members, involved in an incident when the left main landing gear failed. The aircraft slide off the runway, rolled and broke into two separate pieces with one section catching on fire. Several people are ejected from the aircraft and injuries range from minor cuts and scrapes to serious trauma with some fatalities. The Air Traffic Control Tower called an Alert 3 and the on-duty Airport public safety officers responded and called for mutual aid support.

The exercise was completed on a smaller scale than in the past to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. A limited number of volunteer victims were given verbal instructions on how they would be treated and were then asked to walk to their assigned area. A number of simulated victims were in place for responders to assess. Responders also worked to extinguish a bus used to simulate an aircraft fire.

Held every three years, this federally-mandated exercise is designed as a training exercise for Airport and airline personnel and mutual aid agencies. Emergency management agencies from Sullivan and Washington Counties, Sullivan County Health Department, fire departments and emergency medical services throughout the Tri-Cities participated in the exercise. A team of evaluators uses several criteria to assess the effectiveness of the exercise, including personnel mobilization, command and control of the incident, communications between agencies, responsiveness of the emergency crews, and following established procedure.