Commercial airline crash simulation drill helps agencies prepare - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Commercial airline crash simulation drill helps agencies prepare for the worst

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PASCO, WA - Tri-Cities airport simulated an event today that everyone hopes will never actually happen.

More than 25 jurisdictions, departments, and companies participated in the emergency airfield exercise, which simulated a large commercial airplane crash.

In the simulation, a commercial airline crashes upon landing, whereupon 30 of the 50 passengers are taken to area hospitals and 5 are deceased.

This is the simulation law enforcement and firefighters faced today.

The drill started at 8:00 a.m. just north of the airport, with students from Tri-Tech Skills Center acting as the crash victims.

More than 25 agencies participated, which makes drills like today's even more valuable for people who might not work with each other on a daily basis.

"It's hard to understand what we're really going to go through in a real accident, but having the pieces in place and building the relationships to know each other for an accident, if it happens," said Buck Taft, Port of Pasco Deputy Director of Airports. "This is a really good exercise to make sure the airport and the people flying out of the airport will have the best response if an accident does happen."

Every aspect of an emergency was accounted for, from first responders assessing victims to making sure one hospital was inundated with all the victims and everything in between.

With so many moving parts, Pasco Fire Department's Battalion Chief Dave Hare says mistakes will be made, but going out and practicing is the best way to fix any issues with an emergency plan.

"The more often that we do this, the more holes that we're going to find in the plan," Hare explained. "We're going to be able to begin those conversations to start to fill out the plan and get more people involved and provide that expertise that we may need at the drop of a hat in the event of an emergency."

Although this is a worst-case scenario, officials say that if they can handle the worst, they can handle anything.