Gerald R. Ford International Airport conducts full-scale emergency response drill

GFIA disaster drill

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Gerald R. Ford International Airport conducted a full-scale emergency response exercise Thursday, May 18.

While the airport does smaller drills on a yearly basis, one of this magnitude is required once every three years.

According Tara Hernandez, the director of the airport's marketing and communications, "This year's emergency exercise will simulate an aircraft incident on Runway 8L/26R. A simulator will be on site to produce mock rescue scenarios, and several students from the West Michigan Aviation Academy are 'victims' during the exercise.

"The purpose of the exercise is to test the emergency management system in a stress environment with actual deployment of resources to demonstrate coordination and response capabilities."

In addition to the airport's fire department and police force, other organizations that took part in the exercise included the Kent County Emergency Management Team, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Cascade Township Fire Department, Federal Aviation Administration, Kent County Sheriff's Department, Kentwood Fire Department, Michigan State Police, Life EMS, Kent County EMS, Kent County Dispatch Authority, Medical Reserve Corps and the West Michigan Aviation Academy.

Air and ground travel were not impacted by the drill.

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