DFW International Airport Stages “Lifesaver 2005” Simulated Emergency Drill Exercise
Hundreds of volunteers along with area hospitals and first responders take part in evaluation of DFW’s emergency response procedures
DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas (June 7, 2005) — DFW International Airport today successfully staged its triennial LifeSaver Drill to test the Airport’s response to an emergency situation. Today’s LifeSaver Drill 2005 exercise encompassed all of the potential aspects of an airplane crash, rescue and recovery, along with the added element of an infectious disease contamination and response.
Within a few hours, DFW’s emergency response teams had the situation under control and were evaluating not only those wounded in the scenario, but also next steps for action and the impact to operations at the Airport. A group of 14 independent observers from across the nation will issue their final grades on DFW’s response to the scenario over the next few weeks.
“We planned this exercise for more than six months, in order to make it as realistic as possible,” said Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations at DFW. “The best way for us to make sure our first responders are well-prepared for a true emergency is to make sure this drill poses a big challenge, and I think we succeeded in that.”
The purpose of the drill is to exercise and evaluate DFW’s emergency response procedures. The process involved not only a mock disaster site, but also activation of several phases of the Airport’s emergency functionality, including DFW’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Family Assistance Program and the Airport Operations Center.
Our training is always an ongoing learning process,” said Alvy Dodson, DFW’s Director of Public Safety. “We’re constantly learning new ways of responding to different types of emergencies, so we are ready when an emergency happens.”
More than 300 volunteers from across North Texas took part in the LifeSaver drill, with many donning makeup to simulate injuries to victims and survivors.
“Our response teams are among the most highly-trained anywhere in the world, but most of their training happens without seeing any potential victims,” said Alan Black, DFW’s Fire Chief. “It puts a lot more urgency into your training when you can see the people you need to help right in front of you.”
Also taking part in LifeSaver 2005 were four North Texas hospitals, Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Harris Methodist HEB in Bedford, Baylor-Grapevine Medical Center and Arlington Memorial Hospital. LifeSaver 2005 also had key response vehicles from area fire departments and a group of medical evacuation helicopters involved in the event.
As emergency crews responded to the mock disaster scene, DFW activated the Airport’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which takes command of all rescue and recovery activities in a typical emergency event, and the Department of Public Safety also mobilized its Mobile Command Post vehicle. American Airlines activated its CARE Program team as part of the drill, and the Airport also opened its Family Assistance Program to assist “relatives” of the victims.
DFW has staged and passed eight of these drills in its history. The drill is staged every three years as required by the F.A.A. as part of the Airport’s ongoing safety certification program.