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Profile: Robert McCracken

Robert McCracken was a participant or observer in the following events:

Steve Kanarian.Steve Kanarian. [Source: Steve Kanarian]The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) holds a training exercise at New York’s La Guardia Airport, based around the scenario of a jet aircraft carrying about 150 passengers crashing at the end of the runway. (Asaeda 3/2002; Kanarian 2011, pp. 23) The exercise, called Operation Low Key, is an annual drill, which assesses the emergency preparedness response to aviation accidents at La Guardia Airport. (Kanarian 2011, pp. 18)
Exercise Is Intended as Preparation for a Mass Casualty Incident - Before the exercise begins, its participants gather in a briefing room at the airport where Robert McCracken, chief of EMS operations, tells them the exercise is “an important drill for preparation for an aviation accident or a MCI [mass casualty incident].” The exercise commences when an announcement is made, informing participants that a “10-40”—a confirmed plane crash—has been reported at the airport. Participants in their emergency vehicles are then escorted across the runway by members of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). (Kanarian 2011, pp. 21-23) (La Guardia Airport is run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Malo 7/27/2015) )
Exercise Is Regarded as 'a Job Well Done' - The participants arrive at the scene of the simulated crash where there is a plane, and mock casualties are strewn around the runway. To the left, a fire is burning, simulating a burning aircraft. The firefighters and EMS personnel then carry out their response to the mock disaster as if they were responding to a real incident. At the end of the exercise, they gather in the PAPD building at the airport and discuss the day’s events. They are “complimented on a job well done,” according to Steve Kanarian, an FDNY paramedic who participates in the exercise. (Kanarian 2011, pp. 23-25) La Guardia Airport is eight miles from midtown Manhattan in the borough of Queens, New York. (Braun and Gjorgievska 7/27/2015; Malo 7/27/2015) Another exercise is being held there today by the Red Cross, which is based around the scenario of a terrorist attack with a biological weapon (see September 8, 2001). (Philanthropy News Digest 12/7/2001) Three days later, on September 11, FDNY EMS personnel will receive a real report of a “10-40” and subsequently respond to the crashes at the World Trade Center. (Goldfarb 9/2002; Kanarian 9/7/2011)


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