The Fort Smith Regional Airport conducted its triennial airport emergency exercise on Wednesday.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to conduct an FSE or full-scale exercise every three years.
“It’s so important for this to be tested so that way if it actually were an actual incident out here, not only is the airport response ready to go,” said airport director Michael Griffin. “But all the off-airport and supporting agencies are prepared for an aircraft incident.”
The full-scale exercise had more than 10 agencies involved in the training.
According to a press release, they included:
Fort Smith Regional Airport
Arkansas Air National Guard 188th Wing Fire Services
Fort Smith Fire Department
Fort Smith EMS, Sebastian County EMS
Fort Smith Police Department
Federal Aviation Administration
Health Sciences Academy at Darby School
Sebastian County Office of Emergency Management
“There have been aircraft incidents out here,” Griffin said. “This is measuring that preparedness and making sure that we are prepared”
Officials say the airport gathers at least once a year to review emergency plans. For Wednesday’s training, Griffin says they met multiple times to plan. He says the event typically only lasts a few hours, despite all the preparation.
The FAA also requires airports to provide aircraft firefighting. The Fort Smith Regional Airport says it can rely on the neighboring guard members.
“Fortunately with the 188th wing providing the fire services here at the airport,” Griffin said. “We are fully staffed 24/7 in the event that an actual incident were to occur.”