Local News

May 5, 2010 11:37 PM by Bethany Tucker

Emergency crews conduct disaster drill at Santa Maria Airport

Emergency responders are honing their disaster skills with simulated plane crash exercise at the Santa Maria Public Airport Wednesday.

Officials say the exercise simulates the crash of a 30 passenger plane, including a post-crash fire and leaking fuel. A school bus represents the downed aircraft, a canister of simulated smoke represents the fire, while volunteers portray victims, family and friends. Emergency crews will simulate medical care to the "victims" of the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to conduct a full-scale disaster drill every three years. This is the first drill at the Santa Maria Public Airport since the Santa Maria Fire Department acquired Aircraft Rescue Firefighting services from the County of Santa Barbara in 2008. That service provides specialized equipment and staff for major disasters like the one being simulated Wednesday.

All people present in the airport terminal have been told that what they're seeing is only a drill.

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