Caroline MacGregor Published

Simulated Airplane Disaster Planned At North Central West Virginia Airport

Emergency vehicles surround an airport runway with a plane landing in the background
An emergency response drill is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the North Central West Virginia Airport.
Courtesy Connect Bridgeport

An emergency response drill is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at the North Central West Virginia Airport.

The drill will include multiple emergency response agencies from Bridgeport and Clarksburg in addition to employees at North Central West Virginia Regional Airport.

Bridgeport Emergency Management Director Tim Curry said the drill will simulate a mock airplane disaster involving a hostage situation, and its purpose is twofold. 

“One, it is testing our abilities within the city and the county to respond to an emergency which we try to do at least every year,” Curry said. “The other purpose of this one is that the airport has to do a drill every three years to maintain their certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).”

Participating emergency response units include the City of Bridgeport fire and police departments, the Clarksburg Fire Department, and Harrison County Emergency Squad.

Curry said students from the Fairmont State University Aviation Center have offered to act as fake patients for the duration of the mock emergency drill which will last about two hours.

Curry said airport and hospital operations will not be affected by the drill which has been planned since February. He said extra personnel will be on duty across all agencies in the event of an actual emergency.

“The drill allows us to see our weaknesses, you want to train as you would fight, so to speak,” Curry said. “When you have a real-life exercise like this it allows us to train in a way that we would respond to a real exercise but we can do so in a safe and controlled environment when there’s no real life or property at stake and in the presence of skilled evaluators.”

Curry said they will assess all of the notes made by the evaluators during the exercise to enhance future response plans.

“We’ll maybe change the way that we do things if we see that something is not working,” Curry said. “We’re going to exercise, test ourselves, sit down and evaluate it and see what we can do better in the future.”