“Real fire, real flames”: Mass casualty training held at Colorado Springs Airport

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs Airport and Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management conducted a mass casualty response exercise on Wednesday.

The exercise, which has been modified to adhere to public health guidance for the COVID-19 pandemic, allows personnel from several participating organizations to test their procedures for responding to a simulated aircraft emergency and exercise the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Using real fire, crews extinguished the flames, and then emergency responders look at the individuals (mannequins) to determine their injuries and transport them to a hospital.

This year’s exercise did not include live role players, and exercise activities were modified to adhere to public health guidance for COVID-19.


“A lot of preparation went into this, a lot of thinking about getting how to get the players here. What I saw today was that everybody’s intention is on doing a great job and doing it just like it’s the real thing,” said Greg Phillips, Director of Aviation, Colorado Springs Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all airports with scheduled air carrier service to conduct a full-scale emergency exercise every three years and tabletop exercises all other years.  The last airport exercise was completed in 2017.

Participating agencies include:

·       Colorado Springs Airport
·       Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management
·       Peterson Air Force Base Aircraft Rescue Firefighting
·       Colorado Springs Police Department
·       Colorado Springs Fire Department
·       Colorado Springs Communications
·       American Medical Response (AMR)
·       Penrose Main Hospital
·       Penrose St. Francis
·       Children’s Hospital
·       Salvation Army

“There is nothing more important to us than ensuring that we have a safe airfield and that we’re making sure that we’re ready for any type of incident or activity that happens at the airport,” said Phillips.

The exercise did not interfere with airport operations.

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