Reno, Nev. --
On April 27th, Nevada Air National Guard firefighters, along with approximately fifty other entities, participated in the Airport Authority’s “Broken Wing” exercise hosted by Reno-Tahoe International Airport. This exercise is a full-scale, multiagency aircraft disaster exercise held every three years in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport held the drill this year near the customs area at the airport.
The exercise scenario was: an incoming international flight from Mexico had landed and as passengers were disembarking, an explosion took place, expelling some passengers from the aircraft and injuring many others.
First on the scene were airport authority fire vehicles, then the Air National Guard fire vehicles. Thirteen Air National Guard Fire Fighters were included in the Air Guard response.
Fire Chief Kevin Bandoni said, "We have an automatic aid agreement with the Airport Authority so we responded when the call came down from the tower. We’re expected to fight fire and save lives."
As the exercise progressed, the simulated airplane was cleared out and then triage assessments were performed on remaining patients.
Nevada Air National Guard firefighter, Doug Murphy, recently returned from technical school, said, "This is my first experience and it’s very different than tech school. It’s a weird feeling because you are meant to help everyone but at the same time you have to make sure you can assess everyone and help people that have immediate needs first.”
During the exercise, the ANG team was evaluated by ANG evaluators/inspectors for various different areas of competency: activation of support, notification of personnel, response, personnel deployment for fire suppression, site observation and assessment, firefighting operations and support, and many other tasks.
Todd Curtis and Tim Daniels, Nevada ANG civilian firefighters and Battalion Chief Chris Ketring, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, inspected all first responding fire personnel for response and triaging the injured.
Deputy Fire Chief Todd Curtis said, "I have seen many Reno-Tahoe International Airport Triennial/Broken Wing exercises and this exercise really went smoothly." He added that the 2017 Triennial Exercise was very well planned.
Fire Chief Bandoni added, “There were a lot of resources on the scene. It’s organized chaos, you aim to get the most patients the highest level of care possible.”
According to the Lead Controller, Sandy Munns, the exercise was a success, he said, "The thing that I am so proud of in Northern Nevada is look around you, at all of the familiar faces. We know how to work together here. That is one of the coolest things. In other communities, we would not see this level of cooperation with all these different entities and agencies in many other parts of the country. We’re making it an art form in Northern Nevada. I want to congratulate all of you for doing such a wonderful job of working together and bringing together an activity like this. Overall, I think the incident went pretty well."