Preparing for an Emergency at Tallahassee International Airport

Tallahassee International Airport
Tallahassee International Airport
Posted at 5:15 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 17:02:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Examples of two recent airplane emergencies, are begging the question if something similar happens in the Capitol City, how would Tallahassee International Airport handle an emergency. 

Statistically, flying by plane is one of the safest forms of travel. However, because of recent emergency landings, there are questions mounting about planes, their condition and how airports handle emergencies.

According to Tallahassee International Airport Interim Director of Aviation David Pollard, "Typically a call will come in a the pilot will notify air traffic control. Once they have notified air traffic control they're going to assess the situation and work with the pilot and understand what's going on with that aircraft."

Pollard says, "In an emergency situation, once a call comes in from the pilot, air traffic control picks up a red phone that connects the airport, the air traffic control tower, the Tallahassee Police Department and the air craft rescue and fire fighting crews, putting everyone on alert."

Safety, security and emergency preparedness it's a major concern for Tallahassee International Airport.

In case of a major catastrophe several fire rescue vehicles are ready to go in a matter of minutes.

Pollard says, "We have three minutes to get to the middle of the furthest runway from the time the air traffic controller lifts that phone and that's something practiced on a regular basis."

The airport operates under a guidance preparedness program. Every year there is either a table top exercise with all agencies to go through procedures or a full scale exercise using volunteers for live practices.

All exercises are timed and must meet FAA regulations. The on sight fire staff are the airports first responders in case of an emergency situation.

According to Pollard, "They're constantly training and as they do that training they're thinking of anything that can happen in aviation and with the aircraft. From that stand point they're going to be the instant commander."

That training keeps Tallahassee International Airport's emergency staff ready for any type of emergency.

Pollard says, "It's a constant effort and continuing improvement. That's our whole philosophy."

The last major incident to occur at Tallahassee International Airport was on July 20, 2002, when a FedEx Boeing 727 crashed a half mile short of the Runway while attempting to land.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the crash was due to a combination of pilot fatigue and pilot error.