PHOTOS: Disaster drill held at Boeing Field Thursday


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Story & Photos by Elston Hill

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Thursday, July 12, Boeing Field hosted an exercise in which the airport served as the main transport center for people “injured” in a fictional natural disaster. The exercise is needed to maintain the airport’s status as part of the federal government’s National Disaster Medical System. Drill participants were flown in to the northwest from outside the region and transported to local hospitals and medical facilities.

This was my first visit to Boeing Field. What a contrast to Sea-Tac. It is a beautiful, small historic terminal and not crowded in the least with no TSA and parking a few steps away. Three small airlines including Kenmore fly from the airport. The airport is a very busy airport with lots of small planes, private jets, UPS, and a major Boeing presence. The airport is run by King County.

There was a large presence Thursday (July 12) by the Seattle Fire Department, ambulances, and military personnel trained in disaster and medical treatment.

The scenario was that there had been a tsunami in Hawaii. A C-17 actually flew from Hawaii with military personnel playing the role of injured people. A military medical helicopter arrived shortly before the C-17 arrived. There were even people there to greet the dogs playing the role of comfort dogs. The C-17 is immense and we enjoyed a tour of the C-17 after the drill was over. The C-17 was equipped with everything you would expect to find in a small care unit. They had oxygen, cardiac monitors, and much more. There was a kitchen and extra toilets. All of these items can be placed in or removed from the C-17 in a very short time so that the plane can perform regular military duties when it is not doing medical evacuations. All of the participants were pleasant and worked together harmoniously. It was a fun day.

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