Airport conducts simulated plane crash

Airport conducts simulated plane crash

By Bobbie J. Clark • bobbieclark@gannett.com • October 7, 2010
Shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, there was a simulated incident at Shreveport Regional Airport that required the services of nearly every public safety entity in Caddo Parish.

Bodies were splayed from one end of a runway to the other.
Emergency vehicles rushed to the scene and personnel began treating the wounded and identifying the dead. Ambulances were ready to transport the injured to hospitals across the area.
Barksdale Air Force Base was called to help mitigate the situation. After the initial chaos subdued, spokesmen from the Shreveport Airport Authority, Shreveport Fire Department and Shreveport Police Department began piecing the events together so they could make a statement to local media.

Shreveport Airport Authority spokesman Bill Cooksey said a regional jet with about 75 passengers crashed into a cargo plane. He gave no details about how the crash happened, but said families for those on the plane were being escorted to an undisclosed location.
The scene looked like something from a movie, and like a movie, it was all staged.

The simulated disaster was a coordinated effort by the Shreveport Airport Authority and the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as well as emergency response providers from Shreveport, Bossier City, Caddo and Bossier parishes and Barksdale Air Force Base. About 75 students from Fair Park High School also participated in the drill. They served as the wounded and dead from the crash.
The exercise is required once every three years in order for commercial air service airports such as Shreveport Regional to maintain Federal Aviation Administration certification, a news release states. The drill was evaluated by FAA officials, as well as numerous emergency response providers for response times, coordination of the response and other requirements. The drill lasted until about noon.
Louis Johnson, training chief for the Shreveport Fire Department, said as soon as the drill is over, officials will come together to assess all their strengths and weaknesses. From there, they will start planning the next drill.

“This is good practice for any disaster in the parish,” he said. “Every agency is affected. A disaster like this would have a significant impact on the entire community.”

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