Rapid City Airport holds significant FAA emergency training exercise reinforcing the preparedness of first responders

Rapid City Airport conducts extensive emergency training to honor responders and prepare for...
Rapid City Airport conducts extensive emergency training to honor responders and prepare for potential crises.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 8:15 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - On the anniversary of one of the most traumatic events that happened on US soil, the Rapid City Regional Airport collaborated with Airport Rescue and Firefighting along with community members to help remember the magnitude of the day by ensuring everyone maintains the highest level of training in case an emergency like that were to ever happen again.

The full-scale emergency exercise that happened Monday evening at the Rapid City Regional Airport happens every 3 years to fulfill the airport’s FAA requirement.

This year, the decision to have it on the day of one of the most traumatic events that has happened on US soil held even more significance for those first responders who participated.

“The people that responded to those incidents on that day were able to do their jobs and do them well because they trained for emergency scenarios, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here today, and hopefully we’re honoring those folks by keeping up with training so that we can respond in the event of a real incident as well as they did,” explained Rapid City Fire Department ARFF section chief Neill Goodart.

The training prepared the first responders for everything and anything that could happen on the field.

“There’s a lot to think about other than just injuries and illnesses; you have to think about all the surrounding threats to those patients as well,” said Rapid City Fire Department paramedic Laura Sosa.

Unlike the year-to-year FAA training, the full-scale emergency exercise included community members to not only participate but also get a firsthand experience of what first responders have to go through in situations like the one held during the exercise.

“This is an incredibly important thing, not only for us as civilians to see what the responders go through but for them to be able to train in case of any type of emergency like this,” said community volunteer Heather Hoeye.

“There’s no other way to commemorate what happened 22 years ago than to honor our firefighters, our first responders,” said community volunteer Laura Armstrong.

For a former first responder, the exercise on Monday was a first and an eye-opener to the work required to put a full-scale emergency exercise together.

“During training like this, I realize it’s not a full-tilt, full-bore emergency, but any training that we do in the fire service gives you that automatic reaction in your body just like an athlete for doing something or reacting to something in a certain way. It’s quite inspiring to see,” said community volunteer Roy Erickson.

Over 80 community volunteers participated in the full-scale emergency training on Monday.

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