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Airport Has Fiery Field Day

fiery_field_dayOn Wednesday afternoon, the University Park Airport held its triennial emergency response exercise. The University actually owns the airport, so it was responsible for executing the exercise. (Also, here’s a fun fact: it’s the busiest airport in the United States to not have a traffic control tower. They do have one in the works though.)

The exercise allowed Centre County to test how its various emergency response units would work together on an actual emergency– in this case, the simulation was of a FedEx cargo plane colliding with a 50-passenger US Airways jet.

Penn State Live has a list of all the units that participated,

The emergency response exercise involved local police and fire departments, emergency medical services, the county HazMat teams and several local, state and federal government and community agencies, along with on-site airport response crews. Centre County emergency radio dispatchers also were involved in the exercise.

Authorities had students from State College Area High pose as crash victims strewn across the field with various infirmities. They also set a car on fire in lieu of actual planes to provide a small-scale test for firefighters.

“We’re learning a lot on this one,” said Randy Rockey, county emergency services director. “Is it going 100 percent smooth? No. That’s the reason for the exercise. People are coming up with ideas to improve, working together.”

Photo taken by Jill Shockey of Penn State Public Information. Second quote from Centre Daily Times.

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