Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Drill for disaster. It’s a federal requirement for all airports to prepare for deadly situations. This weekend, BWI-Thurgood Marshall conducted a large-scale simulation.
Gigi Barnett reports it took several agencies and dozens of volunteers.
There was a crippled aircraft on a BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport runway. Surrounding it were dozens of wounded passengers and crew, at least 125. First responders from several agencies came to their aid.
“The plane was on final takeoff and an engine blew. The plane basically caught fire,” said BWI Executive Director Paul Wiedefeld.
The wreck is a simulation, but BWI officials say if it becomes reality, preparation is key.
Every three years, the FAA requires commercial airports to conduct full-scale drills. The goal Saturday was a speedy, accurate response.
“We will go through and sift through everything that is ripe and fresh in people’s minds and we will take note of what to do better next time,” Wiedefeld said.
Wiedefeld says the drill took months to plan and everything was perfectly timed.
There are people who write and record everything that happens. Others check for safety and all look for weak links. But nothing could happen without the volunteers, who know a rehearsal today could be the real thing tomorrow.
“It gives me a lot of confidence in the men and women who would be responding to an emergency like this,” said volunteer Kirsten Peterson.
The simulation did not cause any delays or cancelations of flights.