First Responders Put to the Test in Emergency Response Drill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

First Responders Put to the Test in Emergency Response Drill

Dan Meisenzahl Dan Meisenzahl

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu's emergency responders kicked it into high gear today at the Honolulu International Airport; responding to a simulated disaster involving a downed commercial airliner.

In the scenario, the pilot of a flight from Los Angeles, radios the control tower for help 3 hours before it's set to arrive in Honolulu. The airliner crashes, goes up in flames and bodies are strewn all over the tarmac.

The FAA requires a full-scale drill every 3 years. It's a certification requirement and an evaluation of our emergency response and readiness.

"It's giving us a real world type situation so if it ever happens, heaven forbid, we've already been through it, we know where to go, who to talk to, where to respond and who to report to who," said State Department of Transportation Spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

From the Honolulu International Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting teams to the Hawaii Air National Guard, all the major players are involved.

"Airport Fire Department, Federal Fire, County Fire, Paramedics, U.S. Coast Guard, etc. you name it, they're here," said Meisenzahl.

Hawaiian Airlines participated. 250 college students also dressed the part to play the wounded and the dead.

Even the drivers of the Wiki Wiki Shuttle had a role.

The State spent over a year planning this exercise and even threw curveballs at the first responders to see how teams act under pressure.

"Every second is critical in this exercise. The more our agencies communicate with each other, the more they're on the same page, the better chance of saving lives," said Meisenzahl.


Now that the exercise is over, Meisenzahl explained the FAA will be putting together a report card and an evaluation will be issued to the State in a couple weeks.

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