Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

3rd Tri-Annual Airport Emergency Preparedness Shook-Up PPA

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): October 21, 2009 - A workshop, lecture, discussion and table-top approach on airport emergency preparedness to maintain the capability of the Pohnpei Port Authority personnel on their effectiveness and efficiency in responding to aircraft accidents was conducted at the Pohnpei Port Authority from October 5 to 7, 2009. In addition, there was a full scale exercise on October 8th followed by a debriefing on the 9th.

This workshop is required by the International Commercial Aircraft Organization, USA. and is the third workshop of its kind that has been conducted at the PPA. It is given tri-annually. Every tri-annual exercise is different in nature to fully test capabilities and other supports of airports. The ultimate goal of the exercise is to save lives and keep airports operational at all times.

The week-long workshop brought together all the agencies and key departments that constitute the Pohnpei State Emergency Plan. There they evaluated their ability to pool resources, acquire assistance from other required agencies, coordinate inter agency cooperation, test the capability of infrastructure support and get government support in the event of a mass aircraft accident.

The scenario set for the full scale exercise was a crashed Boeing 737 aircraft that was supposedly carrying eight crew and one hundred-sixty passengers with two thousand, two hundred thirty-nine gallons of jet fuel. In the scenario, one of the engines exploded just after take-off causing power failure and then crashed near runway 27.

Aspects of the response that were evaluated include the time of establishment of posts, (for example; the Incident Command Post, the Staging Area, the Emergency Operation Center EOC etc), proper care of victims, safety and security of personnel and victims, Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighters (ARFF) response, the coordination of the event and support to name a few.

All in all, the response was rated high with room for improvement. One area of improvement that most of the observers indicated was communication, the means and the ways. Red Cross and the Pohnpei State hospital exceeded all in their performance measures in the drill.

In Ron Simpson's (Manager, FAA Honolulu Airports District Office) closing remark, he encouraged Pohnpei leaders and PPA to step up their efforts to improve the airport emergency plan.

Departments and agencies that were directly involved in the Pohnpei State Emergency Plan, include: Pohnpei State Hospital, Pohnpei Public Safety, Pohnpei Environment Protection Agency, The Micronesian Red Cross Society, The Salvation Army, FSM Telecommunications, Nett and Sokehs Municipal Police, Marine Resources, PUC, National Police, Pohnpei Education Department, Pohnpei Transportation Authority and many, many more.

The workshop was presented by the following gentlemen: Mr. Ron Simpson - Manager, FAA Honolulu Airports District Office, Mr. Barry Brayer - Manager, FAA Micronesia Technical Assistance Program, Chief Martinez Jacobs - Chief ARFF (Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting), Hawaii State Airports, Chief James Diaz - Chief ARFF (Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting), Commonwealth Ports Authority and Captain William Camacho - Head Instructor, Western Pacific Region ARFF Training Center.

At the closing meeting, participants were awarded certificates and pledges and promises were made among key agencies to revisit and improve the Airport Emergency Plan before the Training Team comes back again to Pohnpei in three years.

The same team and exercise is expected to come around Pohnpei in 2012.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356