Emergency disaster exercise planned at Kona International Airport

Don’t be alarmed if you see flames and emergency vehicles at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport Thursday.

The airport is serving as the staging area for the Triennial Aircraft Disaster Exercise.

The exercise is a mandatory certification requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test airfield disaster preparedness and response by simulating a full-scale aircraft emergency disaster.

That may involve fire, fire suppression, rescue, triage, treatment, and transportation using emergency response vehicles.

It will run from 8 a.m. to noon, and involves several agencies, including Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division staff, HDOT Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) units, Securitas, FAA, Transportation Security Administration, Hawaii County Civil Defense, Hawaii County Fire and Police Departments, Emergency Medical Services, Kona Community Hospital, American Red Cross, University of the Nations Kona Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), American Medical Response, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Wing, United Airlines and other airline personnel.

Student and teacher volunteers from the West Hawaii Explorations Academy will act as injured passengers.

Flight operations will continue as normal during the exercise with no impact to scheduled flights.

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