Category: Community

Drilling Down on Safety

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.”


GOTV Rally Parking Information

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.

All GOTV Rally information can be found at and

Additionally, a Temporary Flight Restriction will be in effect during the event. Check NOTAMS for procedures at

GPIA intends to maximize safety for all guests. If airport guests have questions about their flights, they may contact GPIA at 406-257-5994 or on

GPIA to partner with Kalispell Heart Program for Stock The Locker

Glacier Park International Airport and the Kalispell HEART (Homeless Education And Resources Together) Program’s HEART Locker will partner for Stock The Locker, a clothing and school supply drive to begin on July 28, 2018.

Since the most popular back-to-school shopping destinations will function as donation locations, donating will be convenient for all Flathead Valley residents. Any and all donations are welcome, as long as they are related to school supplies, clothing, or hygiene products. In order to best serve the HEART Locker, all donation locations will have removable tickets with listed items that are in highest demand in the community.

“We’re so grateful for the variety of items donated by our community,” says Nichole Heyer, Director of the HEART Locker. “If I had to choose one item that we’d love to receive in new condition, it would be socks, bras and underwear.” School supplies, clothing and hygiene products are accepted. Socks, bras and underwear are needed in all sizes to meet the needs of students from kindergarten up to high school seniors.

In addition to new socks and underwear for students of all ages, gift cards to restaurants and local retailers are in short supply. “The HEART Locker has an amazing selection of gently used clothing gifted to us by t

he community, and we definitely also see kids who just need to know where their next meal is coming from,” Heyer says, adding that Subway is a popular among the students that she serves. Gift cards of $10 can bridge the long hours between a child’s last meal and the next one. It’s an important gap to fill, especially in evenings and on weekends when kids can’t depend on school lunches and breakfasts to meet their nutritional needs.

Stores participating in Stock The Locker will be Walmart, K-Mart and the Kalispell Center Mall and donations can be dropped off at any location until August 12, 2018. The Glacier Park International Airport Fire Team will be responsible for pick up and drop off of all donation receptacles in each participating location. The HEART Locker will receive all donations the week of August 13, 2018, one week before the public school start date. 


The HEART Lock

er is a facility in Kalispell run by the HEART Program and Kalispell Schools, which acts as a free store for students in need. The facility receives donations from the community that include clothing, shoes, hygiene products and school supplies for the students to receive at no cost. HEART Locker is not open to the public, and each school in the Flathead Valley has their own key to the facility for students in need.

Glacier Park International Airport serves as the gateway to the Flathead Valley. The airport is committed to serving those that live within the community that they serve.