GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The East Texas Regional Airport was the scene of an extensive disaster drill. First responders from many different entities took part in a training scenario to be prepared for the worst.
The East Texas Regional Airport Fire Station was packed with first responders and volunteers who would play victims in the disaster scenario. Airport Manager Roy Miller says the drill is a necessity.
“All the airports that have airline service in the country do this every three years, and it’s to be prepared and to be safe if something really does happen,” Miller said.
Trauma makeup was applied to many volunteers like Kilgore College nursing student Julie Godair.
“You never know when you’re going to be in a situation where you’re going to have to prioritize. So you might have somebody that can hardly breath; are they more important than the person with metal sticking out of their chest. So you’re having to figure out and learn who needs to be air-flighted, who needs to be transported in the ambulance, things like that,” Godair said.
The back story was a bomb had exploded as a plane landed, but first responders in attendance weren’t told what the disaster would be. Smoke from beneath the plane signals the start of the drill, and airport units respond.
“Then comes one of our mutual aide people, either be Longview or Kilgore or Elderville whoever is closer. So Elderville got out her first, then Longview then Kilgore. So that’s about the sequence of which it would happen,” Miller explained.
“I think it’s going well. We got here in our time limit which was less than three minutes. We discharged our water in the right direction. We’re about to put the fire out. We’re evaluating our injured and now we’re thinking about transporting them,” Miller observed.
Victims are assessed and taken to the proper designated areas: A green tarp is for the walking wounded.
“The red are people that need to have immediate care, but they’re not quite as severe as yellow which would be immediate transport,” Miller stated.
That included volunteer Julie who was priority one. In about an hour the scene was cleared of victims.
“I’m sure we’ll learn a few things we can do better, and we’ll learn some things we did right, and where we need to make some improvements,” Miller added.
It was an education for responders and victims alike.
The FAA requires the drill scenario every three years. There is also a drill performed on paper that takes place every year at the East Texas Regional Airport.