Barnstable Municipal Airport Conducts Full-Scale Disaster Drills

HYANNIS – If you were driving past the airport on Iyannough Road in Hyannis on Wednesday afternoon, it may have appeared as a major public safety incident was underway.

Fortunately, airport staff along with the dedicated law enforcement and emergency response teams on the Cape and Islands were practicing in anticipation of a disaster, rather than reacting to one.

Barnstable Municipal Airport conducted full scale emergency drills on Wednesday as part of an in-depth exercise involving safety protocols. The drills were conducted on the airport grounds and also at Lewis Bay in Hyannis.

The exercise simulated a mock scenario of an aircraft accident. While actual aircraft were not used in the drill, fire departments set up multiple training fires and used other emergency simulators to test the airport staff and the airport’s emergency response plan.

“We have evaluators in the field that are testing our response to an incident. We have evaluators in the field who are testing security. T.S.A. is testing our security protocols,” Airport Manager Katie Servis explained to media members attending the exercise.

“So, this is all about how we can do things better, how we can make changes, how can we improve on our response times.”

The exercise included the Police and Fire Departments, Cape Cod and Falmouth Hospitals, the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Administration, Massachusetts Department of Transportation-Aeronautics Division, American Red Cross, and other towns across the Cape.

The airport also had volunteers on hand to play the roles of victims of the simulated accident. Per the practice of the drill, all volunteers were transported to Cape Cod Hospital for simulated medical care.

“We have 40 victims that are being transported either by ambulances or by a bus supplied by the airport to Cape Cod Hospital. Cape Cod Hospital is evaluating their team on how they triage hospital patients that are part of a mass casualty incident,” said Servis.

Charter air-traffic at the airport and ferry lanes were not disrupted during the training exercise.

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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