COLUMBIA – Flames and smoke will come from Columbia Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon, but it will all be part of a scheduled disaster drill.
11 emergency response agencies will take part in the drill, which will include live-action firefighting training and a mock aircraft that simulates an actual fire.
COU Manager Mike Parks said the airport has worked hard to make people aware of the drill so they don't worry.
“When people walk in the terminal, they'll see signs that there's a training exercise going,” Parks said.
The training will give first responders the opportunity to identify both strengths and weaknesses in their response protocols to aircraft emergencies.
The airport will remain open during the exercise and passengers will not experience any delays or detours due to this training. The FAA, general aviation traffic, and the COU airlines know the drill is going to happen and will make the appropriate communications to their passengers and staff.
Parks said the airport can still run operations as normal because a different runway is closed.
“The east west runway out there is where we'll have the simulator set up and all the people participating out there,” he said.
The exercise will include Columbia Regional Airport Public Safety, the City of Columbia Police and Fire departments, the Boone County Sheriff Department, Southern Boone County Fire Protection District, the Boone County Fire Protection District, University Healthcare Ambulance Service, Boone Hospital Ambulance Service, staff for Life Helicopter Service, Boone County Joint Communications (911) and the Boone County Office of Emergency Management.
According to Parks, the most important thing to get from the training is it’s a way for everybody to work together.
The exercise will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.