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Emergency responders practice for the big one at Bellingham airport

Police, firefighters and other emergency responders practiced their skills during a disaster drill at the Bellingham International Airport, Tuesday morning, Sept. 12, 2017. The major disaster drill is held every three years.
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Police, firefighters and other emergency responders practiced their skills during a disaster drill at the Bellingham International Airport, Tuesday morning, Sept. 12, 2017. The major disaster drill is held every three years.

Numerous agencies participated in a full-scale emergency response drill at Bellingham International Airport Tuesday.

The drill mostly took place at the airport and St. Joseph hospital, and involved more than 200 local volunteers and emergency responders. The volunteers role-played as airplane crash victims and victims’ family members.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires a full-scale exercise once every three years to test an airport’s emergency plan. Agencies taking part in the drill included the American Red Cross, fire departments, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Whatcom Transportation Authority and the FBI.

Marie Duckworth, Landside operations supervisor for the airport, said the exercise went well overall.

She said officials will have an evaluation meeting on Friday to determine areas of improvement.

“They were able to receive valuable experience working between agencies. Interagency cooperation and communication were valuable parts of this exercise,” Duckworth said. “I’m sure areas of improvement were identified and we’ll work on those. That’s part of why we train.”

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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