September 30, 2019
The Buffalo Niagara International Airport, in collaboration with multiple stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels, held a full-scale triennial exercise on September 27. The focus of the emergency drill was to explore the effectiveness of communications between multiple agencies and departments, with the goal of activating a coordinated public information process during the event of a life-threatening emergency. It was also a good opportunity for representatives from the NFTA to test its crisis communications plan including the use of twitter.com/nftanewsroom.
The exercise originated at the Airport firehouse in Cheektowaga and included law enforcement and first-responder agencies, airline representatives, and volunteers who were moulaged to play victims, as well as NFTA Metro staff. The drill began at 6:30 p.m. where the firehouse was notified that there was an airfield incident that included an aircraft fire, multiple injuries, and an individual who had barricaded himself in a room. There were over 200 people involved in the exercise and an extraordinary amount of moving parts.
Airport Fire Chief Bill Major said, "This exercise is extremely valuable as it helps us test the Airport’s crisis emergency plan should we have an aircraft incident here at the airport. While we hope this never happens, we must train and test procedures, so we are ready."
Upon culmination of the event, participants had the opportunity to discuss the overall effectiveness of the drill and note any improvements for the future.