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'It's really all hands on deck': CVG holds drill for mass casualty crash

The FAA requires the airport to complete the drill every 3 years
CVG Mass Casualty Training
Posted at 6:11 PM, Sep 08, 2023

HEBRON, Ky. — Hundreds of personnel at CVG prepared for disaster Friday morning.

Every three years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires the simulation of an aircraft crash, CVG spokesperson Mindy Kershner said. It gives emergency responders a chance to practice their coordination and response time.

The practice drill was hectic: fire trucks racing to the runway, pretend victims scattered under the plane and first responders assembling staging areas for injured passengers waiting to be taken to hospitals.

“It’s really all hands on deck across the airport,” Kershner said. “All departments are involved.”

The drill requires months of coordination and involves 250 volunteers, 80 mutual aid organizations and six hospitals.

“Every time we practice, we increase our knowledge and understanding, coordination,” Kershner said.

A key component to the drill is making sure that mutual aid organizations that would respond to a potential disaster know where to go and what to do within the airport complex.

Some pretend crash victims were brought to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Trauma Services Director Dr. Meera Kotagal said.

“It’s always more chaotic when you do it in real life than on paper when you're sitting around a table,” she said.

Victims also stayed in character to make the situation seem more real — one patient even screamed for their mother throughout the whole drill.

“It creates the sense of chaos that we expect that we will have in a mass disaster,” Kotagal said. “The question is, in those moments, how do you walk in, take a deep breath, and work through the systems that we have in place?”

The organizations involved will evaluate the success of their actions during the drill.

“We expect that we will learn something from them,” Kotagal said. “So that's not a concerning finding. That means we're doing the job the way we should.”