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By Edith G. Alejandro

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, May 31) - The Federal Aviation Administration and the Commonwealth Ports Authority-Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (CPA-ARFF) division held a joint anti-terror drill in Kosrae, the fourth Pacific island to receive help with airport security improvement.

CPA-ARFF chief Stanley Torres Jr. said the training began on May 17 and ran for three days, with Kosrae International Airport and police officers participating in the Airport Emergency Planning, Emergency Operations Center Seminar and Full-scale Airport Disaster Exercise and Incident Command System.

Torres said FAA official Barry Bayer and Honolulu Airport District Office head Ron Simpson joined the collaborative airport security seminar.

On May 20, the team held the full-scale drill in compliance with the FAA Pacific Program with CPA-ARFF.

"Kosrae is the fourth Pacific island that went through this program. Our next stop would be Chuuk and Yap and after that, all islands would complete the FAA training," said Torres in an interview.

The training, which was funded by the FAA, was assisted by Dennis Teregeyo.

The Pacific Islands FAA training began in 2002, with Palau heading the list of island-nations to get assistance for its airport security training. In 2003, FAA and ARFF trained airport officials in Majuro and later in Phonpei. Later this year, FAA and ARFF would hold a similar training in Chuuk. Torres said Yap's airport training might be scheduled in early 2005.

"This is not mandatory or in compliance with an FAA directive but FAA deems it necessary to keep all Pacific island nations' airport facilities ready for an emergency. FAA has tapped the assistance of CPA-ARFF in doing all these anti-terror drills," said Torres.

The CPA-ARFF has been actively participating in various anti-terror drills and it has been accredited by federal agencies as ready and efficient in teaching anti-fire skills and techniques.

In July, ARFF would open its ARFF Pacific Training facility.

May 31, 2004

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

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