10:07 AM

DFW International Airport Stages LifeSaver 2011 Simulated Emergency Exercise

Hundreds of volunteers and area mutual aid responders take part in evaluation of DFW’s emergency response procedures

DFW AIRPORT, Texas (January 15, 2011) — DFW International Airport today staged its triennial LifeSaver Drill to test the Airport’s response to an emergency situation. Today’s exercise was based on several simultaneous incidents including a multiple-vehicle roadway crash, along with the corresponding rescue and recovery operations. The drill, staged every three years as required by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the Airport’s certification process, represents one of DFW’s prime opportunities to test its operational efficiency and its readiness.

"This is an extensive training and emergency exercise involving our employees as well as key airport and community partners, and we try to make the exercise exhibit some very strenuous conditions," said Jim Crites, DFW Executive Vice President of Operations. "There’s no amount of training that can fully simulate a real catastrophe, but this drill allows us to re-assess our procedures and take a holistic approach to our crisis response plans together with our partners."

Within three hours, DFW and area emergency response teams had the mock 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 ten independent evaluators will issue their final grades on DFW’s response to the scenario over the coming weeks.

The exercise today involved not only a mock disaster site, but also activation of several phases of the Airport’s emergency functionality, including the DFW Emergency Operations Center and the Airport Operations Center. Assisting in the response were units from Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Coppell, Grapevine and Euless.  The DFW Department of Emergency Management coordinated the event.
“We’re constantly learning new ways of responding to different types of emergencies, so we will be ready in a crisis situation,” said Alan Black, DFW Director of Public Safety. “The effectiveness of an exercise like this is even greater when you can reach out into the community and have mutual aid partners take an active role.”

In addition to mutual aid partners from seven neighboring cities, more than 200 volunteers from across North Texas took part in the LifeSaver Drill, with many wearing makeup to simulate injuries to victims and survivors.
DFW has staged and passed nine of these drills in its history.