Preparing for the Worst
6:17 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Airport Tests Emergency Response

Public safety workers got a chance to test their emergency preparedness in a mock exercise today at the Rhinelander Airport.  Crews simulated a response to an airplane engine catching fire while taxiing.

Fire crews work to put out a simulated fire the runway at the Rhinelander Airport.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

On the airport tarmac, a test plane is lit on fire several times, so different fire crews can practice putting it out.  During the course of the exercise, emergency response teams arrive, make sure the scene is safe, and practice tending to possible victims.  Rhinelander Assistant Fire Chief Tom Waydick says it’s an important chance to practice working with other emergency crews.

“And it gets us working together as a responder community.  It has us working with other ambulances, other fire departments.  They’re not just names that we see from time to time, or meet the chiefs at the chiefs meeting.  We see all their firefighters.   And we get to train together as a county organization and it makes us a better, stronger community.”

The test offers a chance for firefighters to get their annual “live burn” training.  

Jets of water from firetrucks help to subdue the planned blaze.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Rhinelander Airport Manager Joe Brauer  says the airport is also required to test its emergency response system every three years. 

“It’s really great to get everyone to come out and participate and such, it’s really good for our system.  What we do is we look at the things we do very very well, and some of the things we need to improve on.”

Teams responding as part of the exercise include the Rhinelander Police Department, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and several full time and volunteer fire departments - more than 70 people in total.