Over 700 people participated in what was describe as a full-scale simulated aircraft disaster Tuesday, May 15th, that tested the capability of Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) emergency management system.

The LAX Air Exercise was staged on the restricted airfield adjacent to the LAX Imperial Terminal/Flight Path Learning Center, 6661 Imperial Highway.

The exercise tested emergency responders and mutual aid providers in a real-time, stress-filled environment in which personnel, equipment and other resources are mobilized and deployed, officials said.

With more than 700 participants — including 200 volunteers playing mock “victims” and “family members” — the LAX Air Exercise was considered to be one of the largest full-scale drills among all U.S. airports, officials said.

More than 20 organizations participated, including the Los Angeles Fire Department; several Los Angeles World Airports divisions; El Segundo and Los Angeles Police Departments; and federal aviation and law enforce- ment agencies.

Other organizations included American Red Cross; United Airlines and LAN Airlines; Los Angeles County departments (Emergency Preparedness and Mental Health); local hospital emergency rooms, medical units and ambulance services; and other mutual aid organizations.

“This air exercise gives individuals and agencies the opportunity to practice and refine their emergency procedures,” LAX airport manager Jens Rivera said. “This full-scale, real-time simulation provides necessary hands-on experience to maximize the effectiveness of our emergency response.”

Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Antoine McKnight said, “Due to heightened homeland security awareness, the public has an expectation that emergency service providers will respond to major incidents in a professional and coordinated effort, providing for immediate care in any instances that will threaten and endanger their lives.”

The objectives of LAX Air Exercise 2007 include testing the efficiency of inter-agency and inter-departmental planning and coordination in managing an airport disaster, as well as testing current procedures of the Airport Emergency Plan using responses under a unified command and satisfying federal requirements.

Federal aviation regulations require all commercial U.S. airports to conduct a full-scale exercise at least once every three years. LAX officials regularly conduct such exercises using various emergency scenarios that may occur.

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