WILLISTON, N.D. — An airport in Williston has put its organization and communication to the test with a simulated plane crash.

Sloulin Field International Airport held an exercise on Saturday that measures how well firefighters, police and other agencies respond to an emergency that is likely to cause serious injuries or death. The simulation is required by the Federal Aviation Administration every three years, the Williston Herald (http://bit.ly/2cD9Wfy ) reported.

Williams County emergency manager Mike Smith wrote and organized the exercise over a two-month period.

“It tests our ability to deal with an incident with multiple people who are injured, and this time it happens to be an airplane,” he said.

The fire department, law enforcement, a local hospital and other county agencies worked together to move injured passengers to a triage area and to medical facilities.

“You never know when something like this is going to happen,” said Denise Haugen, a nurse who played the role of a patient during the simulation. “I think preparing for the unexpected is a good thing to do.”

By the time the exercise began, Williston firefighters already had a busy weekend responding to a crash that resulted in a downed light pole Friday night and a highway crash Saturday.

“A live exercise like this gets to show you where your strengths and weaknesses are,” Chief Jason Catrambone said.

Airport director Steven Kjergaard said training is an important part of the airport’s function, even though it hasn’t experienced an emergency on that scale.

“We don’t want to have an incident and have a breakdown with communications and responses,” he said.


Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com