Full scale emergency exercise at Montrose Airport

MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Maybe you saw a lot of flashing lights and sirens Thursday morning in Montrose. Specifically, at the Montrose Regional Airport.

No need to panic. The county held a full-scale emergency plane crash exercise, testing the skills of their operations and emergency responders in case they had to react to the real deal.

"I think it was very effective,” said Lloyd Arnold, Director of Aviation for the Montrose Regional Airport.

The situation was that an airplane had crashed upon landing.

"We ended up transporting several victims to the hospital, we also brought in EMS and fire response and we also brought in the coroner. We did have deaths in the scenario,” said Greg Fisher, Emergency Manager Montrose County.

With 180 passengers on board, the team kicked into action,

"Helps us understand where we may have failures and also where we do good,” said Lloyd Arnold, Director of Aviation, Montrose Regional Airport.

"So today we tested an incident command post, an emergency operations center, a joint information and public information,” said Fisher.

More than 150 people were involved in the fake operation. Including police, FBI, Health and Human Services, and the hospital.

"We want to have an effective response to any emergency that we have here at the airport, and in order to be effective you need to practice,” said Arnold.

They simulated everything from rescuing passengers from the initial crash, to FBI investigations into a possible terrorist attack, to press conference at the Sheriff’s office.

"Good responses from all of the emergency service entities and we had good communication and I believe we are ready for a response like this,” said Arnold.

Aviation director Llyod Arnold, has witnessed several crashes in his 20 years of aviation experience.

That it’s better to take the time to practice rather than wait until a situation like this happens in the future.

"Absolutely critical because things change every time, scenarios change, people change, leadership changes, and it’s just good to keep fresh on your mind the scenario and the type of incident,” said Fisher.

They'll host a review to see how well they performed in a couple weeks.

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