If you just happened to be in and around Memphis International Airport Monday morning there was a good chance you witnessed a massive response to what could have been an emergency.
But it wasn't real. It was a coordinated readiness response drill.
The massive emergency response drill involved training for at least 1,000 first responders and airport personnel to make sure they are ready to handle a catastrophe like a plane crash.
The test enabled the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority to look at its response to an emergency. Scott Brockman with the airport authority said they are also looking at other emergency responders.
"It's a test of ambulance services, fire services, rescue and emergency response to test all of their readiness to get here in the event of a real emergency," Brockman said.
Nearly 150 volunteers played the role as victims on a burning plane as part of the readiness exercise.
Emergency responders from across the metro Memphis region took part in the coordinated readiness drill. Memphis Fire Department Battalion Chief Keith Staples said the training exercise does two things: it improves an already active reaction plan, and also fine tunes the already great working relationship the department already has with other agencies.
"We can speak the same language so that way we can have seamless communication between the agencies," Battalion Chief Staples said.
More than 1,000 emergency responders were involved in Monday morning's exercise in one form or another. They did not know when the exercise would take place.
The simulation canvassed the southern end of the airport near Shelby Drive for several hours.
The exercise is mandated to be performed every three years by the federal government so the Federal Aviation Administration can review the response. In the end the readiness response drill was all about safety in the eyes of potential tragedy.
"It's a very valuable test," Brockman said. "Not only is it required but it's a wise good business thing to do."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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