Airport drill: 'It's a chance to all work together and make sure that everybody's ready'

In this training exercise, tower radio says a plane crashed on the runway with 22 passengers onboard, injuries unknown. (SBG)

NORTH BEND, Ore. - Aviation firefighter Michael Craig responds to the call.

"Dispatch, this is a drill! We have an EMB 135 that has skidded off the runway."

In this training exercise, tower radio says a plane crashed on the runway with 22 passengers onboard, injuries unknown.

The job for firefighters: control and knock out the fire.

"What this does," says Craig, the training officer, "is test the incident management system at the local level."

This is a mass casualty exercise required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Fire crews trained with Bay Area Hospital and Bay Cities Ambulance, law enforcement and the Coast Guard.

"It's a chance to all work together and make sure that everybody's ready for a mass casualty," Craig said.

Tara Pierce, the airport's account manager, agrees.

In this training exercise, she's playing a crash "survivor".

"Our plane crashed and I tried to get out and get away but I collapsed," Pierce said. "I'm going to actually get back-boarded and air-lifted up to Bay Area Hospital. I'm going to go through their trauma system."

Fire crews assess the injuries and categorize them from green - OK - to black, for deceased.

Pierce is marked red.

"It's really important in case we ever actually have a situation like this," she said.

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