Rescue workers “treat injured passengers” during a full-scale emergency exercise held May 10, 2014, at Trenton-Mercer Airport.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137 

EWING, N.J. - A two-hour full-scale emergency exercise held May 10, 2014, at Trenton-Mercer Airport that included more than two dozen agencies and more than 300 volunteers was deemed a success, Mercer County officials said.

A full-scale exercise is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration to be held once every three years to measure the level of preparedness of first responders and to allow the agencies that will respond to a true emergency to train together in a single venue.

"Every agency at every level, from the local fire department to the FBI, has to be on the same page should a major disaster occur in Mercer County," said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. "We brought together all of these agencies because we are taking a regional approach to preparedness, coordination and response. I'm confident this exercise will leave us better prepared for a real emergency."

Representatives of various agencies and offices participated in the handling of the "incident," which for the purpose of this exercise was the simulation of a commercial aircraft crash due to low-level wind shear. Rick Bus Co. provided two school buses that represented the split fuselage of the aircraft. Fire and rescue units immediately reported to the "scene" and passengers were "triaged" and "treated." Family and friends were "escorted" and "media" inquiries were responded to.

Following the Airport Emergency Plan, agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI, the New Jersey Division of Aeronautics, the County Office of Emergency Management and County Emergency Communications were contacted and their designated representatives were requested to report to Trenton-Mercer. A command post, a joint information center, and an emergency operations center were established to direct the response. The entire scenario was staged at the New Jersey National Guard hangar off Scotch Road in Ewing.

At the scene, airport aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel worked to extricate victims, played with enthusiasm by Ewing High School students, the Naval Sea Cadets and youth of the King David Lodge No. 15 F&AM, Trenton, and extinguish the fire. EMS transported all live victims to area hospitals and a temporary portable morgue was set up. The "airline" established an information center at a local hotel for family members, and the airline, the Hughes administration and fire officials staged a mock news conference at Ewing Township Municipal Building.

Airport staff and other participants in the exercise will now evaluate the response and use information gained to improve or revise, if necessary, the Airport Emergency Plan and emergency procedures. Also in attendance were Freeholders Andrew Koontz and Lucylle Walter, Ewing Business Administrator James McManimon and Lawrence Councilmen David Maffei and Jim Kownacki.

Numerous agencies participated in the full-scale emergency exercise, including in the planning, organizing, advising, and operational stages. They, including others, are as follows:

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Office of Communications
Mercer County DOT&I
Mercer County Sheriff's Office
Mercer County Office of Emergency Management
Mercer County Prosecutor's Office
Mercer County Emergency Services Communications Center
Trenton-Mercer Airport Administration
TTN Aircraft Rescue and Firefighters-Station 34
New Jersey Division of Aeronautics
New Jersey State Police
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
US Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Capital Health System Emergency Medical Services
Ewing Township Police Department
Ewing Township Office of Emergency Management
Ewing Township EMS
Franklin-Somerset First Aid Squad
Frontier Airlines
Green Knoll Rescue Squad
Lambertville-New Hope Ambulance Squad
Manville Rescue Squad
Midwest Air Traffic Control Services (staffs TTN Tower)
Monmouth County EMS Task Force
Prospect Heights Fire Company
Pennington Road Fire Company
Pennington Road First Aid Unit
Princeton Rescue Squad
Raritan Valley EMS
Ringoes Rescue Squad
Trenton EMS
Union-Titusville Fire Company
Upper Makefield Fire Company
West Trenton Fire Company