The Port and community partners will conduct a full-scale airport emergency response exercise at the Bellingham International Airport from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16. The exercise will evaluate the preparedness capabilities of the Bellingham International Airport and local response agencies. Due to local and state restrictions to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, some exercise activities will be simulated or occur remotely.
Although most of the drill will be staged within the boundaries of the airport, members of the public may see emergency vehicles, unusual airport activity during the drill, and “passengers” with simulated injuries. The exercise, including more than 50 local volunteers and emergency responders, will evaluate coordination between agencies, mass-casualty response, victim and family care, security, and communications. The exercise will not interfere with regular operations and the airport will remain open for the duration of the drill.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations require a full-scale exercise once every three years to test an airport’s emergency plan. Community volunteers taking part in the disaster exercise will be role-playing aircraft crash victims and victims’ family members.
Past and present organizations and agencies involved in the exercise include: American Red Cross-Mount Baker Chapter, Bellingham Fire Department, Auxiliary Communications Service, Allegiant Airlines, Horizon Air, Mutual Aid, Whatcom County Fire Districts, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, Bellingham International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Bellingham Fire Department, Whatcom Unified Emergency Management, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Whatcom Transportation Authority, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.