Nearly 300 people participated in a full-scale, simulated aircraft disaster April 24 aimed at testing the operational capability and preparedness of Los Angeles International Airport’s emergency management system.
The two-hour, unrehearsed exercise is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be conducted at least once every three years. The operation is meant to test emergency responders and mutual-aid providers in a real-time, stress-filled environment where personnel, equipment and other resources are mobilized and deployed, airport officials said.
The LAX AirEx was held on a restricted airfield adjacent to the Flight Path Learning Center.
More than 20 organizations and 300 people, including 100 volunteers who acted as accident victims, took part in the drill.
“This air exercise provides LAX and our partner agencies the opportunity to practice and refine emergency procedures necessary for handling an aircraft disaster,” said John Kinney, Los Angeles World Airports director for Emergency Management. “This training greatly enhances our responders’ ability to integrate quickly in a unified effort to save lives, fight fire, contain hazards, preserve evidence, assist victims’ families, inform the public, and begin an investigation.”
Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Timothy Manning said, “This important training allows emergency service providers to hone their skills in responding to major incidents in a professional and coordinated effort, providing for immediate care in any instances that may threaten and endanger lives.”
Among the procedures tested during the drill were the efficiency of inter-agency and inter-departmental planning and coordination in managing an airport disaster; current procedures of the Airport Emergency Plan using responses under a unified command; and determining strengths and weaknesses in the integration of response resources.
The on-airfield scene included a static Boeing 777 aircraft and a large “debris field” of aircraft parts; a pyrotechnic display to simulate explosion and fire; 100 mock victims located throughout the exercise zone; fire, law- enforcement and airport operations responders; medical triage; and ambulance and helicopter transport of victims.