‘We’re better able to respond’: Crews at Spokane International Airport practice emergency exercise

SPOKANE, Wash. — Emergency crews were at the Spokane International Airport on Wednesday training for mass casualty events.

The Federal Aviation Association requires this training once every three years. Imitating real-life situations, the training is necessary for first responders to understand the importance of having to do something like this at a moment’s notice.

“We practice this habitually,” Todd Woodward, director of marketing and public affairs of the Spokane International Airport.

In the scenario played on Wednesday, people were on a plane that was on fire, and some passengers were hurt badly. Not knowing the conditions of these hurt individuals, firefighters climbed through the window, needing to get these passengers off the plane as quickly as possible.

One man fainted on the tarmac, while others were unable to move due to broken bones. Others were confused and had head wounds.

In these situations, first responders must analyze the emergency in real-time. Volunteer Margaret Merin was carried out during the reenactment. Not being able to walk in the reenactment, she understands how important this type of training is in real-life situations.

“You realize this is to train these guys so you have to be as realistic as you possibly can, because in the real world situation, they’re going to have to deal with this,” Merin said.

This kind of training helps teams stay sharp for unexpected events.

“Part of the exercise is to provide an education or refresher course to emergency responders to provide triage treatment and transport to victims,” Woodward said.

The exercise is about working as a team, as different departments come together to practice these crucial skills.

Around 60 volunteers now understand what it’s like being in an emergency situation. Every second is crucial, and those precious seconds determine how far first responders will go to save as many lives as possible.

“We’re better able to respond,” Woodward said.

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