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Airport Emergency Training Coming For White, Putnam

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Airport Emergency Training Coming For White, Putnam

Emergency Management personnel from White and Putnam Counties will be familiarizing themselves with aviation emergency protocols over the coming months.

White County EMA Director Matt McBride said protecting aircraft passengers using the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport requires multiple agencies to operate on one accord. He said aviation emergency response requires specialized training beyond what many firefighters and first responders have been trained for. He said while these incidents are rare, proper education is key.

“It’s kind of that if you don’t use it, you lose it, you know?” McBride said. “So, that’s more, I think, the mentality also. Like we spoke about, if we don’t start training for it, we want to be prepared as much as we possibly can.”

A fire apparatus has been placed at the Airport and a Fire Hall will be part of a new facility being constructed. McBride said he has met with Putnam County EMA Director Brandon Smith to discuss how to get personnel trained and put policy in place. He said he hopes to get the ball rolling this summer with basic training and implement a broader scope of understanding incrementally.

“Some of the planes, you have your same material, you know?” McBride said. “But you have your fuel load and as long as your fuel’s not involved, the consensus is, we don’t attack those or deal with those any different than we would necessarily a vehicle emergency or necessarily a house fire.”

He said much of what will be involved is not just coming from the county agency level. Rather, federal regulations come down and are updated regularly with new pieces of policy that outline how first responders are to address aviation emergencies.

“If we could start with just the key two or three things, you know, the key pieces, and then build off that as this whole program builds,” McBride said. “But if you don’t have your basics right, your program will never be right, and I think that’s what we’re wanting to take our time with, is if you lay the groundwork, the rest of it kind of comes and it builds on top of each step.”


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