The Port of Bellingham and community partners will conduct a full-scale airport emergency response exercise at Bellingham International Airport from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The exercise will evaluate the preparedness capabilities of the Bellingham International Airport and local response agencies.
Although most of the drill will be staged within the boundaries of the airport and PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, members of the public may see emergency vehicles, and unusual airport activity during the drill, and “passengers” with simulated injuries. The exercise, including more than 200 local volunteers and emergency responders, will evaluate coordination between agencies, mass-casualty response, victim and family care, security, and communications. The exercise will not interfere with regular operations and the airport will remain open for the duration of the drill.
Federal Aviation Administration regulations require a full-scale exercise once every three years to test an airport's emergency plan. Community volunteers taking part in the disaster exercise will be role-playing aircraft crash victims and victims' family members. Some activity will occur near the Emergency Department at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center where role-playing victims will be transported for a mock evaluation by hospital personnel, and role-playing family members will be assisted by the hospital, airline representatives and the Mount Baker Chapter of the American Red Cross at the Health Education Center.
The organizations and agencies involved in the exercise include: American Red Cross-Mount Baker Chapter, Whatcom County Fire District #8, Bellingham Fire Department, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Auxiliary Communications Service, Alaska Air, Allegiant Air, Mutual Aid Whatcom County Fire Districts, Port of Bellingham, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, Bellingham International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower, Whatcom County Sheriff's Office, Whatcom Unified Emergency Management, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Whatcom Transportation Authority, Cascade Ambulance, Volunteer Mobilization Center, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.