Press Club

DCA to Hold Disaster Drill on Saturday With Smoke And Fire

Residents and passersby may see fire and smoke may coming Reagan National Airport this weekend, but don’t worry — it’s just a drill.

The airport will be testing its emergency preparedness plan by simulating an airline crash with hundreds of pretend casualties, officials say. The full-scale disaster drill will be held from 9:00-11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“During the exercise, smoke, fire, participants with mock injuries and a large number of emergency response vehicles may be visible to passengers and the public,” said the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

“Activities will be concentrated on the south side of the airfield in a controlled area near Runway 4,” MWAA said in a press release.

The drill will test how officials respond to a fiery airplane crash — from battling the flames, to triaging and transporting victims, and to coordinating communications with the public.

For those interested in participating, the airport is seeking volunteer victims who are at least 18 years old and have some clothes they don’t mind being destroyed by “moulage” — a.k.a. costume wound materials like fake blood.

All told, the airport hopes to attract 130 victims for the event.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations require airports develop emergency plans for disasters and test them with a full-scale disaster drill every three years. Saturday’s drill comes three years after DCA’s last drill in 2016.

MWAA also warns scanner listeners that they may hear first responders participating in the simulated scenario on Saturday.

Local law enforcement planned an emergency exercise of their own in case of a terrorist attack last month, after holding one two years ago.

Image via Eventbrite

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