Nearly a Dozen Agencies Respond in a Drill to Plane Explosion at Bismarck Airport

Per FAA requirements, the Bismarck Airport has to conduct a full scale emergency drill every three years. These drills are meant to put first responders’ skills to the test, as they work together while chaos unfolds.

Nearly a dozen agencies were briefed, and then left to best respond..

These two school buses are acting as a plane, and the people on the floor acting as victims after an explosion. And it’s all part of a full-scale drill taking place at the Bismarck Airport. Multiple agencies are participating in response to this explosion, including the SWAT team, local law enforcement agencies, and EMS.

Jim Hulm is the Assistant Commander with West Dakota SWAT. He says communication was the biggest obstacle.

Jim Hulm; Asst Commander West Dakota SWAT:  “When you get so many teams, entities, divisions, whatever you want to call them all together. Obviously there a lot of different channels we run, trying to get everyone on the same channels at times.”

Dan Schaefer is with metro area ambulance. His team worked to keep the drill as realistic as possible.

Dan Schaefer; Operations Chief for Metro Area Ambulance: “Almost inevitable, it’s going to be your first time responding to a major event. That’s the whole idea of the drill, is to give them a little understanding of how that might actually happen.”

The SWAT team felt they handled their end well, but there’s always room for improvement.

Jim Hulm; Asst Commander West Dakota SWAT:  “With doing exercises like these, this is how we learn, this is how we get better.”

Dan Schaefer; Operations Chief for Metro Area Ambulance: “Like anything else, we try to organize the chaos.”

Friday morning, all agencies will meet to discuss what went right, and what went wrong.

Today’s drill was the largest the airport has hosted, with more than 150 people participating.

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