Regional airports are critical for emergency and natural disaster response

Regional Aviation Baseline Study

Airports are often key facilities for emergency response and management. Twenty of the region’s airports report some emergency operations.

From search and rescue to firefighting and natural disasters—airports across our region are critical to responding to crises. They play a particularly vital role in earthquake response.

Airports operate as an uninterrupted corridor of transportation to disconnected communities in case of infrastructure failures to bridges or ferries. For Vashon, Vashon Municipal Airport is a critical way to enter or exit the island when ferry service is disrupted. Bremerton National is the base for emergency response management in case of disruption to bridge or ferry access to Kitsap County.

Access via air to the region’s natural and protected areas is also crucial in case of emergencies, fires, and natural disasters. The region’s state-owned airports, along with Apex Airpark, operate forest firefighting activities. These locations are becoming significant in wildfire response, as the region experiences more frequent and severe wildfires.

PSRC is conducting a Regional Aviation Baseline Study to better understand the region’s aviation system and options for meeting growing demand. Results from the study will form the technical foundation for future decisions by regional and state leaders.  A final report is due out in fall 2020.