Emergency exercise training at FAI brings together local police, fire, US Customs officials

With tactical teams, emergency response vehicles and live victims in full makeup, the Fairbanks International Airport looked more like the scene of an action movie on Tuesday.

"We need a medic!"

Once every three years, the Airport spends several months planning an Airport Emergency Exercise with mass casualties.
This year's drill included North Pole, Fairbanks and Airport Police, The Alaska State Troopers, US customs, 9 fire departments, and nearly 70 victims.

Jeff Roach, FAI Manager:
"We do these exercises so that we can ensure that if an emergency happens at Fairbanks International Airport that we are ready to respond. It is a federal requirement but we would be doing the same type of exercise to ensure that we can meet our emergency plan even if those federal requirements weren't there."

In the previous year's exercise the focus was rescuing victims from a plane crash. This year, the drill included an airplane bombing and mass shooting.

Sean Martines, FAI Chief of Police and Fire:
"We're following nationwide trends, especially around aviation and airports, and we have had active shooters. One of the active shooters recently originated in Alaska."

The airport was staged with victims all throughout the customs area, gates five and six, one of the baggage terminals and in a bus, meant to represent an airplane.

Sean Martines, FAI Chief of Police and Fire:
"When it started out, we had two shooters in the terminal, we went up and neutralized the threat and then we brought our medics in behind us. It's a lot of working parts. We also had the medical teams go up and then transport out all the victims."

All 69 victims were out of the terminal in 29 minutes. From that point, they were triaged and taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Bassett Army Community Hospital.

The entire exercise took around 3 hours to complete. Officials say the operation did have areas where communication could improve but in total it was a success.

Jeff Roach, FAI Manager:
"Overall we met all our exercise goals and look forward to continuing to serve the public."