OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Firefighters and other first responders in Daviess County were on scene at Owensboro Daviess County Regional Airport this morning.

It was part of a training exercise, testing their response to a simulated plane crash.

This full scale drill involved agencies from around the county. It also prepares crews for a similar emergency that can happen at any moment.

“It’s not if, but when, is how we prepare for these types of events,” says Tristan Durbin, director of the Owensboro-Daviess Co. Regional Airport.

They arrived by land and by air, helping volunteers playing the part of plane crash victims. They tested how to help those in the simulated crash to prepare for when a real one happens.

“This, hopefully, will show us our strengths, but will show our weaknesses as well,” said Chief Jeremy Smith of the Daviess Co. Fire Dept.

The full scale drill is required by the FAA to be held once every three years to test emergency plans and procedures. Chief Smith says it reveals what works and what needs work. A similar drill done three years ago revealed issues with patient tracking.

“We had some issues, you know, with keeping up with the amount of patients that we had. Better patient tracking, being sure that we stay on task,” he recalled.

Durbin says these drills are vital to responding to crashes like the one this past may, when a single engine cessna crashed on take off that resulted in one person injured.

“The airport and fire was very pleased with that response to that incident. We think everyone responded extremely well. Communication was done well. Those are things that we practice during this event,” he said.

“All those players come together in a situation like this to prepare. God forbid, it never happens, is what we hope,” said Chief Smith.

Chief Smith also says the agencies involved in this morning’s exercise will review how it went tomorrow morning.

(This story was originally published on September 28, 2022)