Airport simulates plans crash for training exercise - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Airport simulates plans crash for training exercise

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - If you drove through Tiyan this morning, you were probably wondering what all the fuss was about. With dozens of rescue units on scene, sirens going off, and some roads closed, it appeared to be quite the emergency.

Every three years, the Guam International Airport Authority puts their response skills to the test for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Simulating a plane crash, close to 100 volunteers played their roles as passengers, with the island's rescue units and GIAA to respond as if they would in a real-life emergency.

GIAA executive manager Chuck Ada said, "The drill is actually focused on an aviation incident and its everything from our response time, to our AAF center, to our notification checklist, our airport emergency plan, our airport certification manual and our collaboration with all public safety stakeholders to ensure that we are able to fulfill the requirements by the FAA and provide a safe environment for the traveling public here at the Guam International Airport Authority."

And while hundreds of others were on scene in the airfield, a select few were given access to the emergency coordination center - where Ada says GIAA tenants and stakeholders received and recorded the latest updates from the scene including how many passengers were transported to the hospital. By hour two, Ada says more than half were - and this is good news, saying, "One of the things we want to do is to exercise the plans that we have in place. These types of drills are no-fault environments to ensure that whatever challenges and whatever needs to be tweaked are done now prior to the actual event."

Although today's practice drill ran smoothly, Ada admits they have had their share of hiccups in the past. He said, "There were a lot of challenges when the drill was conducted three years ago. We definitely want to make sure that now it's under new management that those challenge are addressed and not repeated. 0256 and we look to have a more successful event this time around absolutely."

According to KUAM News files, back in 2011 Guam Community College student Jimmy Lomibao suffered several injuries, including a dislocated shoulder, cuts, and a broken nose. Lomibao was instructed to play the role of an agitated passenger and was allegedly attacked by airport authorities. Lomibao sought legal action as a result.

"I can't speak to that,' said Ada. "I wasn't the manager at the time. But again like I said there was a lot of concern that those challenges were not repeated."

KUAM News confirmed that although today's practice drill was successful, during demobilization an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Unit hit an Airport K-9 Unit. No injuries were reported.

Ada confirms the operator of the vehicle was drug tested today and an investigation launched.
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