KALISPELL - Flathead County agencies participated in a statewide emergency training exercise to test their emergency readiness. Tuesday's drill consisted of a mock large-scale disaster at Glacier Park International Airport.
Responders from Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell Regional Medical Center, and North Valley Hospital participated the full-scale exercise testing their readiness in the transportation and care of patients in the event of a large-scale disaster.
GPIA director Rob Ratkowski says in the event of an emergency at the airport they would work closely with local emergency response agencies.
He says the exercise gives the neighboring agencies a chance to build vital relationships and a familiarity with other emergency crews building a sense of teamwork among them.
"The airplanes that land here, they come from large airports like Denver, Seattle, Chicago, large cities that have a lot more emergency response capability then we do," Ratkowski said. "So that just makes it that much more important that our people here train and have the response mechanisms down."
The Federal Aviation Administration requires training exercises to test the capabilities of the airport and community emergency response staff every three years.
Ratkowski says airport fire staff sought out the opportunity out to train with local community partners to keep things sharp and exceed the three-year requirement set by FAA.
Tuesday's training was part of the statewide Vigilant Guard 18 exercise organized by the National Guard Bureau and is conducted in four states each year, Most of the exercise took place in Cascade County, but hospitals in Billings, Kalispell, and Missoula also participated. will also be participating.