Medical care is focus of local airport drill

The Durango-La Plata County Airport will conduct a large-scale field disaster drill this morning to focus on medical issues of an emergency.

The drill is required every three years as part of the airport’s safety program by the Federal Aviation Administration.

This year’s drill will simulate a fuel truck colliding with a commercial plane as passengers are exiting the aircraft. The fuel truck explodes while most of the passengers are still on the airplane, said Don Brockus, spokesman for the airport.

The drill will take place south of the terminal building and won’t affect travel. It will be completed by noon.

Multiple agencies will be involved in the drill, including Mercy Regional Medical Center, Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, Flight for Life Colorado and Red Cross of Southwest Colorado.

“The big focus is that in a large event like this everybody has a tendency to lose track of where a particular patient has been taken,” Brockus said.

Mercy will be one of the places volunteers, acting as patients, will be taken to receive medical care.

The drill will also meet an annual requirement by the Joint Commission, which accredits Mercy, to participate in a community exercise that includes incoming patients.

The hospital will have extra staff, and the drill should not affect normal operations.

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