It’s crisis time at Yeager Airport, at least for three hours early Tuesday morning.
The West Virginia State Police, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, Charleston City Police and the West Virginia National Guard will use the airport terminal for an active shooter training drill.
The scenario is a shooter or group of shooters storm the airport, gun down several people inside the terminal and then commandeer a plane.
The goal is to provide first responders with a realistic emergency.
“You have to practice the response to all different types of possibilities,” says to Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson. “We hope that we never have to do what we practice.”
But Atkinson says you can never be too prepared.
“We’ve got great first responders in this community,” stresses the director. “But if they do not practice and work together in a drill situation, then the time when there is something real, it will be more difficult for them to work together.”
The drill will take place between midnight and 3am when the Yeager is mostly empty. That will give law enforcement and first responders plenty of room to stage a realistic emergency without disrupting day to day operations.
“We will learn lessons,” says Atkinson. “From those lessons there will be changes made in protocol and response tactics.”
He says the drill will create more of a team mentality and help agencies divide up tasks that must be accomplished during an emergency.