Buffalo-Niagara Int’l Airport holds massive training exercise


CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hundreds of first responders and volunteers took part in a massive full scale emergency training exercise. The scenario: a plane with more than 80 people on board, skidded off the runway and hit a piece of equipment. Dozens of firetrucks, police cars, and ambulances responded to the exercise on Saturday night.

The volunteers were loaded onto a Boeing 727 donated by FedEx. The plane is set up for training exercises like this one. Once the training begins, the simulated victims are taken off the plane, and sent to triage.

The volunteers for the aircraft portion of the training had simulated wounds and injuries. Each volunteer also had a card containing simulated vitals, like heart rate and blood pressure attached to their vests.

The exercise also included roughly 30 people acting as concerned family or friends waiting inside of the terminal, and another 20 to 30 people sent to ECMC’s emergency room.

The exercise is meant to test every level of communication between various agencies in the event of a real emergency.

Assistant Chief William Major, with the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport Fire Department, said, “We are testing our emergency response from multiple jurisdictions. It’s the airport emergency plan, we are not only testing the fire response, the law enforcement response, we are testing the EOC setup, the airlines. American Airlines is our sponsor, and they’re going to be working as if an incident occurred with their plane, and we are testing the public information part of it.”

Assistant Chief Major said this kind of a drill is mandated by the FAA every 3 years, but smaller training exercises are done almost every day.

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