Disasters don’t wait, COS Airport tests emergency response skills during pandemic

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More than 80 people from responding agencies throughout the region participated in mass casualty exercise today at the Colorado Springs Airport. Crews extinguished a staged aircraft fire and rescued “passengers” from an aircraft as they tested their communications and procedures for responding to a simulated aircraft emergency.
The exercise, which was originally scheduled for May, was postponed due to COVID-19. A key aspect of managing airport operations during a global pandemic is being ready to respond to an emergency regardless of the conditions. Because disasters won’t wait for a pandemic to end, several agencies in the region came together to hone their response skills with a few minor changes to the drill to accommodate for social distancing. Although some of the aspects of the exercise were modified to protect participants, crews were faced with a realistic scenario that required quick action, coordination with multiple responders and agencies as they practiced working in a new environment.
Thanks to the COS Airport, Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency ManagementThe City and County are consolidating their Offices of Emergency Management in an effort to optimize staff resources, establish a single point of contact during major incidences and enhance communication both during and after an event. The new office, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPR-OEM) will support operations during a disaster or emergency in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.Because disaster knows no jurisdictional boundaries, we can most efficiently prepare for an emergency and respond to one by coordinating our efforts on a regional basis. The establishment of the PPR-OEM will allow the county and the city to more effectively coordinate and assist first responders in an emergency as well as preparing the government and the community for a disaster., Colorado Springs Fire Department and several agencies across the Pikes Peak Region that helped make today’s emergency drill a success.

In accordance with Federal Aviation Agency requirements, the airport conducts a full-scale emergency exercise every three years to ensure responders keep their skills and coordination efforts at the ready in the event they had to respond to a real aircraft emergency.  The last airport exercise was conducted in 2017.

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