Full Scale Emergency Preparedness Exercise
Smoke and fire were seen at the airport last month, but it was for a good reason.
The Airport was conducting its triennial mass casualty exercise to review procedures and train the responders who would be called upon in an actual aircraft accident.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires all commercial airports to conduct a full-scale live drill every three years, to test their emergency procedures and review performance of the participants.
Responders in this year's mock aircraft accident, AIREX 2008, included fire, medical, police, the Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross, as well as airport and airline tenants. Area university students, nursing school students and volunteer organization members posed as victims with various injuries to test the responders.
The focus was on rapid response and intervention to save lives after an aircraft disaster at Memphis International. The pretend victims were actually transported to area hospitals via ambulance to test the hospitals' ability to accommodate multiple emergency patients arriving at approximately the same time. The Triage process requires on-scene responders to assess and prioritize injuries so treatment can be directed to where it is most urgently needed.
Even though the next live drill won't be for another three years, each year the plan is reviewed through table-top exercises.