Agency Cooperation Stressed in Airport Drill
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - Emergency responders from more than ten local agencies filled Barkley Regional Airport Tuesday evening. Their job was to rescue passengers while securing the airport. Although the exercise was a drill, airport general manager Richard Roof told the Paducah Sun the practice keeps airport employees and area emergency responders alert and aware.
Tuesday night’s drill included all Barkley Regional Airport staff, Paducah police, McCracken deputies, fire departments, McCracken County Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, the Drury Inn, both Lourdes Hospital and Western Baptist Hospital, and the National Weather Service. Roof said 67 actors and about 80 emergency responders were involved in the drill.
The drills are mandatory for the Federal Aviation Administration and take place every three years. Every aspect of the drill was laid out, from media relations to injury scenarios and government involvement. Although specifics of the Tuesday's exercise were limited for security reasons, Roof said in years past the scenarios have included explosive devices, aircraft wrecks or suspicious people.
Roof said a scenario about fifteen years ago involved the airport dealing with a crash, while simultaneously fielding calls about two suspicious men who had stolen the aircraft’s recording devices. Law enforcement was given the vehicle descriptions of the two men, which they tracked throughout the city before simulating an arrest.
Barkley Regional has two incoming and two outgoing commercial flights per day, and Roof said that air traffic over Paducah continues to be steady. Airplanes heading to Chicago or across the country — some with as many as 250 passengers — could easily make an emergency landing in Paducah. Roof said the airport has not had any major security issues in the past ten years.