Disaster Training Prepares Responders for the Real Thing

September 14, 2018 05:56 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The old saying “practice makes perfect” rings true, even when dealing with disasters.

Which is why 15 agencies, including Rochester Fire Department and Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, responded to a simulated plane crash Friday at Rochester International Airport.


The goal?

To make the training drill as close to a real-life emergency situation as possible.

“You never want something like this to happen, but on another hand you want to be ready when it does,” said Rochester Fire Chief Eric Kerska.

“We’ve actually used the active airfield area for a short period of time this morning," said Tiana O'Conor, of Rochester International Airport. "We shut down the airfield between flights to allow the emergency responders to come out onto the airfield and practice that response."

This large-scale response is something the airport is required to do every three years.

“Life safety is our number one priority, and this helps us really train for that possibility of a critical incident response,” said Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin.

It takes nearly a year of planning to coordinate efforts between all the agencies.

Some phases of the training even have responders tending to mock victims.

All this training ... for a disaster they hope will never happen.

“The onset of a critical incident is the wrong time to exchange business cards,” Franklin said.


Alice Keefe

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