(Update: Adding video, comments from Redmond fire marshal)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The numbers heard Wednesday morning over the police scanner channel from Redmond Airport were frightening -- if they had been real: 23 people killed and 15 injured in a "plane crash." But it was a training exercise, in case such a major disaster ever happens there.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports of RDM’s size to conduct realistic commercial passenger aircraft disaster training drills once every three years.
On Wednesday, more than 30 students from the Redmond Proficiency Academy acted as passengers for what several agencies encountered, with a wide variety of challenges including triage of realistic mock injuries, transportation of the injured, and the identification and reunification of passengers with their families.
The scenario first responders trained on was a realistic plane crash -- that a plane ran off the runway and crashed into a fence, leaving those 23 people dead, seven critically injured, five seriously injured and three with lesser injuries. (Referred to as Codes Black, Red, Yellow and Green.) Dummies were used for the deceased.
The drill took nearly two hours to get all of the "passengers" taken care of. Tom Mooney, fire marshal for Redmond Fire and Rescue, said afterward it was a successful training day.
"From what I've seen, it seemed like it went really smoothly," Mooney told NewsChannel 21. "Patients were transported in a timely manner."
The main goal is for first responders to keep their skills sharp.
"We always tell you to practice your home escape drill when you're in your own home, so if we don't continue to practice these skilled that we have -- you know, your skills diminish over time," Mooney said.
The airport and Redmond Fire and Rescue coordinated with multiple regional partners to practice, learn and prepare together, including the Black Butte Ranch Fire Department, Bend Fire Department, Sisters – Camp Sherman Fire District, Crook County Fire and EMS, Sunriver Fire Department, Crooker River Ranch Fire and Rescue, St. Charles Health System including Redmond, Prineville, Madras and Bend, St. Charles Family Care in Redmond, Crook County Health Department, Deschutes County Health Department, Jefferson County Health Department, Redmond Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office including Search and Rescue (SAR),Oregon Health Authority, Life Flight, Air Link, Redmond Proficiency Academy, and local air carriers and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) representatives that serve RDM.
Carly Keenan attended the training and will have the full story on NewsChannel 21 at Five.