EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Emergency crews in Eagle County and surrounding areas are training for one of the biggest events in Colorado’s high country by conducting disaster drills.
On Wednesday, crews simulated a plane crash at the county’s airport, just one aspect of a massive exercise this week. Other practice situations, including a hostage-taking and a suspicious-package discovery, are aimed at prepping crews for the 2015 world ski championships in Vail in February.READ MORE: Robbery Suspect Pursuit Ends In Shooting On I-25
“Today we are actually testing emergency plans for the airport as a result of a plane crash,” Stephanie Palmer, the exercise director, said.
The mock plane crash was the grand finale of an unprecedented two-day emergency exercise.
Busses simulated a plane’s fuselage. Palmer said it provides practice for first-responders to evacuate passengers. The drills combined efforts from organizations around the region.
“What we’re trying to do is meet the needs of everyone in the county,” Palmer said. “Hospitals have to do exercises. The airport has to do exercises. And we’ve established new plans and procedures in preparation for 2015, so we’re combining them all together.”READ MORE: Colorado Snow Totals: Boulder County Gets More Than A Foot
Along with the plane crash that had at least 80 mock casualties, Tuesday’s drill featured a suspicious package at the 2015 world championships and a hostage situation in Vail.
“This has definitely kept us busy,” Jessie Mosher of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.
Area jurisdictions are bringing in extra security for the championships.
“In terms of security, we’ve never done big venues security before — bag checks and things like that,” Palmer said. “We actually learned some things that we need to change that didn’t work so well, instead of learning during 2015 that we’re not doing it right.”
The sheriff’s office says the training is vital to save lives, even outside of major events.MORE NEWS: More Jobs Become Available As Colorado Reopens, Prepares For Post Pandemic
“If we have a large incident, we can respond to it in a manner that’s going to make sure all of the citizens of Eagle County are safe and secure. 2015 just happens to be an event that’s going to bring a large number of people,” Mosher said.