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Lincoln Airport goes through emergency response simulation

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Airport said it’s ready for the worst, thanks in the large part to exercises like the one it help on Tuesday. They went through an emergency response simulation to be prepared for the future and to meet federal aviation requirements.

The full-scale emergency exercise is a plan that’s been in the works for over a year.

“It’s always good, number one, to test every layer of what would be a major event if would happen in the city of Lincoln,” said Tim Linke, Lincoln Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief.

The exercise happened at the airport. Tuesday’s scenario was a fuel truck vs. an airplane.

“It’s not a question of if but when,” said Jim Davidsaver, Lincoln-Lancaster County Emergency Management. “We prepare for the worst hoping that it will come up short of that, this allows us the simulated worst case scenario to test everybody’s ability to respond.”

Student actors from Union College played wounded airplane riders.

“I had a head wound and was unable to to obey commands and I also had severe burns on my arms,” said Andrea Xavier, senior at Union College.

And Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Lincoln Police, Lincoln-Lancaster Emergency Management, Nebraska Emergency Management, Nebraska Air National Guard and more got hands-on experience in a practice mass casualty incident.

“When chaos begins, it’s our job to start to reign in that chaos and bring it under control,” said Linke. “That’s what we’re going to be exercising.”

First responders helped the wounded, loaded them up in ambulances and battled flames for about an hour.

“It really puts everyone’s mind at ease, that if something were to happen, we know how to handle it and we also know what players and people in the community we would need to get ahold of,” said Rachel Barth, Lincoln Airport.

Normally, those ambulances would be taking the student actors to the hospitals to practice processing that amount of patients, but they decided to forgo that part of the exercise because of COVID-19.

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