MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A worst case scenario played out on the tarmac at Miami International Airport Thursday, a disaster drill to put first responders to the test.
The Miami-Dade Aviation Department, along with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the Miami-Dade Police Department and other emergency response agencies conducted a full-scale exercise to test and evaluate MIA’s emergency plan and its ability to respond to a major incident.
“This sort of drill truly tests the ability of the airport to be ready for something major,” said Marc Henderson, the media relations director of MIA.
More than 140 volunteers from the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management, Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH), West Broward High School, Miami-Dade College, the Miami-Dade Police Explorer program and the Boy Scouts of America role-played injured passengers on an aircraft affected by a fire. They used make-up and fake blood to make the scenario as real as possible.
“You train like you operate, and we need to make sure that when our guys go in and train, they’re at the top of their game,” said MIA airport director Emilio Gonzalez. “They’re going to be handling emotional victims.”
Four new state-of-the-art Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles recently purchased by the Aviation Department were also used in the drill.
“Good training for them to test out the kinks any bugs they might have,” said Lt Arnold Piedrahita with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The FAA requires the drill be conducted every three years, but MIA’s director says he plans to do it every year to make sure the training stays fresh in everyone’s mind.