MOCK AIRCRAFT EMERGENCY EXERCISE
Thursday, October 22, 2020 at
Waterloo Regional Airport
(WATERLOO, IA) The Waterloo Regional Airport will conduct a mock airport disaster exercise on Thursday, October 22nd at the Waterloo Regional Airport. Airport Staff, in addition to Waterloo Airport Police and Fire personnel will work together to coordinate response efforts with numerous area medical response teams, Black Hawk County 9-1-1 Communications and Dispatch Center, Emergency Management officials, mutual aid fire and police departments such as Cedar Falls Public Safety, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Department, Iowa State Patrol, area hospitals, federal agencies and many others in order to test the combined resources of the area for an emergency response to the airport in the event of an actual aircraft emergency.
The full-scale exercise, required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) every three years, will begin Thursday afternoon on or at approximately 3:00 p.m., and conclude at approximately 5:45 p.m. in order to allow FAA ATCT personnel to transition Waterloo’s airspace to Chicago’s Air Route Traffic Control Center before the Tower closes at 6:00 p.m.
Due to this exercise being conducted in an active COVID environment, exercise participants will not be transporting volunteer victims to allow emergency room officials at area hospitals to focus their efforts on how best to treat the simulated victims if they were transported to area hospitals.
Therefore, in contrast with the exercise from CY-2017 conducted at the George Wyth State Park, the 2020 exercise is designed to provide a focus for an on-airport emergency response in simulated limited visibility conditions due to dense fog, involving two separate aircraft, operating on different frequencies when the FAA’s Air Traffic Control Tower is not yet open for daily service due to a recent change in operating hours due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, resulting in the two aircraft – operating on different frequencies – colliding into each other with an aircraft departing from Runway 12, and again, due to limited visibility, with an aircraft on final approach for a landing on Runway 12.
Keith Kaspari, Airport Director, provided comment on the exercise, “This exercise will continue to showcase the excellent working relationships developed over many years, on the emergency response efforts by all exercise participants that would respond to the airport in the event of a real-world airport emergency, yet at the same time, allow the airport staff and exercise participants to complete exercise objectives as required by either the Federal Aviation Administration or their local agency – and potentially during adverse weather conditions, as Thursday’s forecast is calling for potential thunderstorm activity.”
Kaspari continued, “As we all know, airport and aircraft emergencies can occur during any time of day and in all-weather conditions, so the better we train – the more effective we all collectively can be in providing an effective response to the airport for a wide range of airport emergency conditions.”
Airport officials are making every effort to inform the public of the exercise well in advance to prevent any undue concern that the exercise might be a real airport emergency.
The exercise will not interfere with any scheduled arrival or departure of commercial, corporate or general aviation aircraft.
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