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Vienna air base conducts anti-hijacking drill

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VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – On Friday, members of the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, federal agents, first-responders and other civil service members battled through a drill involving hijackers, hostages and fires.

The hijacking simulation was aimed at teaching participants how negotiate in times of crisis and react when things go wrong. The simulation involved people playing terrorists, dummies simulating victims and a bus to simulate a plane.

Other agencies involved were the Transportation Security Administration, the Western Reserve Port Authority and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. Participants will evaluate themselves and the other agencies.

The drill must be done by the airport every three years in order for it to keep its FAA license.

“Once every three years, we need to conduct a full-scale disaster drill such as this and it needs to involved a large type of aircraft that service the airport,” Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport operations coordinator Don Johnson said.

“Everybody gets some training out of this and gets them ready in case it would ever happen for real. We would be ready to go,” 910th Airlift Wing Master Sgt. Bob Barko said. “This military presence has been here in the Valley since the 1950’s and we hope to be here for years and years to come. And this is a great way for us to partner with the folks outside the fence and remind them that we’re here to help whenever the need arises.”

The mock scenario involved a hijacking in which one of the terrorists set off a suicide vest. That is when the Air Reserve Station and Vienna Township firefighters moved in to put out the fire and save as many lives as they can.

Chuck Sexton, who is the emergency management program specialist for the 910th, said that working together with local and federal agencies is important for situations and scenarios like these.

“Bringing all these entities in, you have to be able to work hand in hand to resolve the situation through to the end,” Sexton said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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