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College provides invaluable assist during airport ’emergency’


Penn College students, faculty and equipment were integral to Saturday’s simulated emergency at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville. A triennial requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration, this year’s drill featured a smoky runway collision that allowed crews the opportunity to test the strengths and weaknesses of their response systems. Matthew D. Krepps, an instructor of aviation maintenance technology, coordinated the college’s involvement in the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority exercise, which included student “victims” and two planes from the Lumley Aviation Center’s instructional fleet: a recently donated CL-600 Challenger corporate jet and an older Sabreliner aircraft. A fog machine was used in the latter plane to obscure the vision of rescue workers without using actual smoke that would choke the student volunteers acting as injured passengers.

– Photos by Tim Wegman, student photographer

Artificial smoke pours from the Sabreliner, a fixture at the aviation center since its donation by the Air Force.
Artificial smoke pours from the Sabreliner, a fixture at the aviation center since its donation by the Air Force.

The crew of Tanker 20 from Montoursville's Willing Hand Hose Co. is among those answering the call.
The crew of Tanker 20 from Montoursville’s Willing Hand Hose Co. is among those answering the call.

Firefighters move into position.
Firefighters move into position.

Krepps (left) is one of the first "victims" to be led to safety.
Krepps (left) is one of the first “victims” to be led to safety.

A thick haze tests responders' mettle as they enter a "disabled" aircraft.
A thick haze tests responders’ mettle as they enter a “disabled” aircraft.

A triage-and-transport operation ascertains which injuries merit further attention at a makeshift hospital nearby.
A triage-and-transport operation ascertains which injuries merit further attention at a makeshift hospital nearby.

Personnel from five area fire companies took part in the day's operation ...
Personnel from five area fire companies took part in the day’s operation …

... employing a variety of equipment and expertise to hone their response protocols.
… employing a variety of equipment and expertise to hone their response protocols.

Manufactured conditions replicate the daily dangers faced by firefighters.
Manufactured conditions replicate the daily dangers faced by firefighters.

Willing Hand's Scott Konkle helps a student alight from the plane.
Willing Hand’s Scott Konkle helps a student alight from the plane.

Helpfully pointing the way
Helpfully pointing the way

Vibrant foliage in the foothills surrounding the airport provides the backdrop for interaction.
Vibrant foliage in the foothills surrounding the airport provides the backdrop for interaction.

A Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Co. crew member joins a colleague in carrying a passenger out of harm's way.
A Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Co. crew member joins a colleague in carrying a passenger out of harm’s way.

College alumna and UPMC paramedic Alyssa M. Ogden, who graduated in August 2019 with an associate degree in emergency medical services, assesses a "victim's" condition.
College alumna and UPMC paramedic Alyssa M. Ogden, who graduated in August 2019 with an associate degree in emergency medical services, assesses a “victim’s” condition.

A student volunteer fulfills her role.
A student volunteer fulfills her role.

The Challenger, the newest addition to the aviation center's teaching tools, dominates the landscape.
The Challenger, the newest addition to the aviation center’s teaching tools, dominates the landscape.

Jets of water shoot from airport-owned apparatus.
Jets of water shoot from airport-owned apparatus.

The day's simulation attracts multiple fire companies with a singular "safety first" mission.
The day’s simulation attracts multiple fire companies with a singular “safety first” mission.

Pennsdale Volunteer Fire Co. personnel, some of the many serving grateful communities when real disaster strikes
Pennsdale Volunteer Fire Co. personnel, some of the many serving grateful communities when real disaster strikes

 

 

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