Emergency Responder Drills Wednesday at Benny Benson Airport

Once every three years airports need to pass certain tests to prove they can handle commercial air traffic. At Kodiak’s Benny Benson State Airport, that happens Wednesday. Jeremy Woodrow is the spokesman with the Alaska Department of Transportation in Juneau.

“The tri-annual drill is a requirement from the FAA to maintain the Part 139 certification for the airport. That’s what allows the airport to have scheduled air-carrier operations,” he said. “So that’s how you can continue to have Alaska and Ravn fly into the airports.”

The drill will simulate the crash of a twin-engine passenger plane into a Coast Guard C-130, and will involve emergency responders from all around the community.

“The purpose, really of the event is to, study the preparedness of the airport as well as other first responder agencies in the Kodiak area, and then, the managers will review how the different agencies and cooperating airlines managed that event,” Woodrow said. “And that’s a way that we can learn and move forward. And should an event like that ever happen in the future, be more prepared for a mass casualty event at the airport.”

Woodrow says a lot of agencies will be participating, and that they will be responding as if it were an emergency.

“There will be a lot of emergency vehicles. There will be emergency personnel out and about the airport. Anybody who’s either driving by or actually at the airport for normal operations should be aware that is a drill,” he said. “If it’s not a drill, it will be announced otherwise. But it’s just a drill unless something else happens.”

The drill is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Benny Benson State Airport. It is expected to last between 60 and 90 minutes.

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