A multi-agency airport disaster drill took place Tuesday at the Santa Barbara Airport.
For the purposes of the training exercise, a large bus was used to simulate an aircraft fuselage which had suffered a severe damage after a experiencing landing gear failure.
Santa Barbara City College EMT students and Community Emergency Response Teams volunteers role-played the victims complete with theatrical make-up used to simulate various injuries.
The drill, which is mandated every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration, played out in real time with fire, emergency medical services, airport personnel, and law enforcement agencies responding to the scene of the incident.
First responding fire units controlled the simulated fire, with subsequent arriving responders triaging and treating victims. Patient tracking, transporting, and communication with area hospitals were all part of the drill, either actual or simulated.
The purpose of the drill is to provide first responders, partner agencies, tenants, and other stakeholders the opportunity to practice strategic and tactical response capabilities in a risk-reduced environment.
Drills are the primary tool for assessing preparedness and identifying areas for improvement.
The drill focused largely on the response capabilities during the first two hours of a real aircraft accident scenario including the coordination and communication link between Incident Command, mutual aid partners, and airport stakeholders.