Simulated Airport Disaster Trains Local Emergency Responders


Dallas, Texas/US-September 9 2019: Southwest Airline Planes at Love Field Gates. | Image by Linda White Wolf, Shutterstock

A full-scale simulated aircraft disaster exercise will be held in Dallas on November 5 at Dallas Love Field (DAL).

This training exercise is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a City of Dallas press release. Over 200 volunteers and employees will take part in the simulation, which will last from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Commercial air carriers, regional and local emergency response agents, and airport tenants are partners in the upcoming exercise. Conducting the exercise on the airfield will allow involved parties to practice and refine emergency procedures.

Response agencies train continually in their specialized fields in various scenarios, but “a full-scale, real-time simulation provides the necessary hands-on experience to maximize the effectiveness of the emergency response, multi-agency coordination, and interoperability,” the City explained.

Simulated disasters equip airfields to better handle actual disasters. 

“Should a disaster ever occur at Dallas Love Field, this training will [have enhanced] first responders’ ability to quickly integrate in a unified effort to save lives, fight fires, contain hazards, preserve evidence, assist victims, inform the public, and begin an investigation and evaluation process,” the press release stated. 

Serving as mock victims for emergency responders, volunteers on-site will wear “make-up (Malaga) relevant to their assigned ‘condition.'”

Though the training exercise will increase the number of emergency vehicles on the airfield, no commercial flights will be impacted because the action will be “isolated from active flight operations.”

The City warned that “passengers, neighbors, and nearby drivers may see increased activity in the form of fire, smoke, loud noises, and emergency vehicles coming to and from the airport during the drill, but [they] should not be alarmed or contact 911.”

A leader in the airport experience evolution, Dallas Love Field saw its highest number of passengers — almost 17 million — in 2019, and it is expected to host a similar number in 2022. 

DAL received the Airport Service Quality Award for North American Airports, serving 15-25 million passengers in 2018, 2019, and 2020. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), whose mission is to create the world’s most efficient and safest aerospace systems, mandated these training exercises.

The FAA will host two Zoom workshops on updated air traffic control procedures at the San Antonio International Airport, according to the agency’s website. They will be held on November 2 and November 3, both starting at 6 p.m.

Attendees of these virtual workshops will be invited to ask questions and learn about proposed actions and alternatives. The FAA website shared that new procedures would raise the altitude at which aircraft can fly and the length of time they can fly there.          

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