LAX Holds Drill to Simulate Emergency

More than 500 emergency-response personnel took part in a drill at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday simulating an airplane accident on the tarmac.

About 150 volunteers took part in the drill posing as victims, complete with makeup and molds to simulate injuries.

"I heard about this opportunity and I thought it'd be fun to come and join in," said volunteer Andrea Romero, whose neck was covered in fake blood to simulate a neck injury.

The 2016 LAX Air Exercise was a two-hour, unrehearsed drill involving representatives from Los Angeles World Airports, the city police and fire
departments, city Emergency Management Department, American Red Cross, county coroner's office, FBI, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and the cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.

Wednesday's scenario involved a jetliner crashing into a vehicle that caused multiple injuries and fatalities. Responders were expected to get help on the scene in three minutes. 

"I'm helping out with the [Fire Department] and airport police," said aviation worker and volunteer Eugene Margulas. "It's good practice for them too so that I know I'm safe for when I come here and fly."

The exercise is mandated by the FAA and must be conducted at least once every three years "to evaluate the operational capability of readiness of LAX's emergency response and management system."

Featured in the exercise were six new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting apparatus, which were recently acquired at a cost of $5.7 million. The vehicles replaced four older ones that have been re-deployed to Van Nuys and Ontario airports.

LAWA's management director, Ed Bushman, had praise for the airport's performance in conducting the drill, saying it reflected awareness and preparedness. 

"There are always lessons to be learned," Bushman said in a statement. "Nothing will ever be perfect. We stress our systems so we can find the gaps for improvement."

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