ASE 2024 Triennial Reflection

Section safety

On June 7, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) conducted its triennial exercise to test the community’s emergency response capabilities. This full-scale exercise, held every three years, involves the airport’s Sardy Field Fire Department and mutual aid partners from across the county. As part of ASE’s Commercial Operating Certificate, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires ASE to have an Airport Emergency Plan.

The Airport Emergency Plan is tested during the triennial exercise with a simulated crash of a commercial aircraft. The exercise features a mock aircraft connected to propane tanks, allowing fires to be ignited at various locations. Firefighters then practice extinguishing these fires while also working with simulated victims. With community assistance, the airport had over 40 volunteers who received makeup to simulate injuries. These volunteers were positioned at a safe distance from the mock aircraft to be triaged by attending medical professionals.

The event was a resounding success, demonstrating the readiness and coordination of all involved parties. The airport extends its heartfelt thanks to its mutual aid partners, including local fire departments, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, and other essential service providers. Their collaboration and support were instrumental in making the exercise a realistic and valuable training experience.

We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to the volunteers who dedicated their time and energy to role-play and evaluate the exercise. Their commitment and enthusiasm brought an invaluable level of realism to the simulation, helping our responders practice under conditions that closely mirror real-life scenarios. The volunteers’ willingness to participate, endure the application of injury makeup, and engage in the triage process significantly enhanced the overall effectiveness of the exercise.

Lastly, we appreciate the support of the local community and businesses who contributed resources and encouragement. Your continued support enables us to maintain a high level of preparedness and ensure the safety and security of everyone at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport.

Together, we demonstrated our collective commitment to safety and emergency readiness, reinforcing our ability to respond effectively to any crisis. Thank you all for your invaluable contributions to this essential exercise.

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