On Saturday, Nov. 10, Glacier Park International Airport coordinated an active shooter exercise in the airport terminal. Approximately 150 emergency responders from 20 local agencies participated in the drill. For the safety of the traveling public, the exercise was conducted during a time of day when there were no commercial flights and no passengers were in the terminal.
Exercise coordinator and GPIA Fire Chief Wesley Long spent months planning for the integrated drill. In the weeks before the exercise, there was no shortage of news to remind him why the exercise was important.
“There were three real-world active shooter events in the news, one a week, leading up to our drill. Having a proactive response to such an event is incredibly important,” Long said. “Simulating this kind of event allows us to plan for possible scenarios, isolate issues in training and communication, and promote information sharing with our emergency response partners across the valley.”
Linwood Carmen, a trainer and inspector from the Transportation Security Administration, was present to evaluate the exercise. He rated the drill among the best active shooter exercises he has seen — that’s high praise for a rural location like Kalispell, where resources are limited.
In smaller cities like Kalispell, many departments work with minimal staff and some are highly dependent on volunteers. Limited staffing across agencies made the participation rate even more impressive.
“Often, it’s difficult to find the time to train, even within your own agency, let alone on a level like we did with the active shooter drill,” he said. “We involved folks from as far away as Missoula and throughout the valley.”
Interagency exercises are crucial in establishing communication and cooperation when a real emergency occurs. It’s also important to test the response time of emergency services across the valley — Wes knew they’d find areas to improve. Thanks to the drill, the department’s EMS partners have pinpointed areas where they’ll be working to strengthen their abilities.
The GPIA team intends to keep the momentum from this exercise going; Wes has already started planning the next exercise.
“All participants have expressed how much they appreciated the opportunity to work together more,” Long said. “We’re excited for the next opportunity we have to promote preparedness in our community.”
Starting January 2019, the Montana Motor Vehicle Division will begin issuing REAL ID credentials. Residents are not required to get a Montana REAL ID compliant license or ID but a Montana REAL ID compliant license or ID or another acceptable form of identification will be required to fly domestically and access federal facilities by October 2020.
Alternative options, such as a passport or passport card, are acceptable forms of identification as well.
We’re in the middle of the holiday season, and as many of us make final preparations to reunite with loved ones, we’d like to take time to remind you of some tips for packing and helpful pointers for your upcoming travel. If you still have last-minute shopping and to-do lists on your mind, make getting through the checkpoint one less thing to worry about.
1. Traveling with Gifts
Wrapped gifts are allowed, but not encouraged: We’re not the Heat Miser; however, we might have to unwrap gifts. If there’s something in the gift that needs to be inspected, we may have to open it. Our officers try their best not to mangle the gift wrap, but it’s not a guarantee and it also slows down the line for everybody else.
Snow globes need to comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule if wish to take it in your carry-on bag. If it is a larger snow globe, please pack it in your checked bag. If you are unsure if the snow globe contains 3.4 ounces of liquid or more, the rule of thumb is that if it is smaller than a tennis ball, it is probably 3.4 ounces or less.
Toys are always fun to play with, but water guns, toy guns, toy swords and other items that resemble real firearms or other weapons can look just like the real thing in an X-ray. This can lead to evacuations and delays while explosives professionals try to resolve the alarm. Please pack these types of toys in your checked bag or ship them to their destination.
Fruitcake, cookies or other holiday treats are allowed, of course. If the food item is a solid (i.e.: ham, turkey, cake, pie, cookies), you can pack it in your carry-on bag. If the food item is spreadable or pourable, then it must also follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule to travel in a carry-on bag.
The rule of thumb for liquids, gels and aerosols: You’re allowed to take as many 3.4 ounce or smaller sized containers that will fit in one sealed, clear, quart-sized zip-top bag – and one bag per person. Make life simple by packing liquids in your checked baggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rule.
Deodorant: Flying with deodorant isn’t a sticky situation. Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is. Read more this blog about deodorant.
Shaving Razors: In brief, all razors are allowed in checked bags. Disposable razors are allowed in carry-on bags, and safety razors with removable blades are not. Check out the blog post for pictures of razor examples and more information.
3. Getting Expedited Screening
TSA Pre✓® – TSA Pre✓® allows eligible travelers to receive expedited screening. In layman’s terms, it means you get through security quickly. The average wait time in TSA Pre✓® lanes is under 5 minutes! Even if a TSA Pre✓® line looks longer, they move much faster than a standard lane with more convenience. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. If you haven’t already, apply now!
TSA Pre✓® travelers (including those enrolled in Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI), have access to faster TSA Pre✓®lanes at more than 200 airports when flying with participating airlines. To find the program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool.
You can now check out TSA Pre✓® lane schedules at the nation’s largest airports. Enter the airport, day of week and time of day you’re traveling, and the tool will return the availability of TSA Pre✓® lanes. When no lane is available, travelers can show their boarding passes with the TSA Pre✓® indicator to receive expedited screening in a standard lane.
TSA Pre✓® Not Reflected on Boarding Pass: If you’re looking at your boarding pass and you don’t see the TSA Pre✓® indicator even though you’re an approved trusted traveler, we’re here to help! Get live assistance by tweeting @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. Our AskTSA team can help resolve any issues. If you prefer to call, you can reach out to our contact center.
4. Traveling companions:
Traveling with children: Screening is simpler for children 12 and under, so they can keep their shoes on. Read about how to best pack for your child and read how “Kids rule the airport”. Children 12 and under may also travel through the TSA Pre✓® lane if one or both of their parents have it!
GOTV Rally with Vice President Mike Pence at Glacier Park International Airport
In preparation for the GOTV Rally with Vice President Mike Pence, Glacier Park International Airport wishes to inform the public that parking for the GOTV Rally is at Gate 7, which is ½ mile north of the airport entrance on Highway 2. There is NO event parking at the terminal.
Directional signage will indicate the correct parking area for rally attendees.