A Publication of WTVP

The Greater Peoria Airport Authority and the 182nd Airlift Wing conducted a simulated, full-scale disaster drill at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport (GPRA) October 1.

The fictional accident involved a CRJ 700—the actual aircraft was a C130 donated by the 182nd Air National Guard—whose crew had experienced the smell of gun powder in the ventilation system, followed by an explosion that left the aircraft without hydraulics or the use of the landing gear and was crashing at GPRA.

Two airport fire trucks and two 182nd fire trucks surrounded the aircraft and extinguished the flames. Firefighters and medics also performed “triage,” combing through a crowd of more than 73 volunteers from area EMS squads who played the part of dazed, wounded passengers. With the help of area makeup specialists, many of the “victims” sported open gashes, burns, and blistered skin. Some people were tagged “deceased,” while others were put on stretchers and taken to area hospitals that participated in the drill.

Required every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration, the drill is designed to hone first responders’ skills for a disaster at the airport and assess the effectiveness of coordination and communication between myriad agencies. The drill involved local, state, and federal agencies and a number of area firefighters, police, and other first responders who converged on the Greater Peoria Regional Airport’s full-scale disaster drill October 1.

Airport officials are confident in the ability of the airport, the 182nd, and all mutual aid partners to work effectively and efficiently in handling any kind of emergency at the airport. Additionally, in the near future, a meeting with all mutual aid agencies will take place to review the drill and implement any suggested items that would enhance the effectiveness of the airport emergency operations.

The Airport Authority thanks all of the mutual aid participants, and we hope our honed skills won’t have to be put into action. IBI