STERLING, Va. – When there is an emergency, first responders rush toward danger to help the victims. On Saturday, 150 police officers, firefighters and medics trained to respond to a mass casualty event at Dulles International Airport.
The simulation began with a hijacked fuel truck pretending to collide with a small aircraft. The plane explodes into flames, causing a Boeing 767 to veer off the runway.
“We’ve got injured passengers on the plane and injured passengers on the ground,” says Tom Kenney, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority deputy fire chief.
The injured passengers are actually volunteers. Makeup was used to simulate real wounds.
“Anywhere from cut fingers to severe burns on their face, exposed bones, compound fractures. The injuries are extensive to minor,” Kenney says. Dummies represented fatal victims.
As firefighters rushed to contain the blaze, medics cared for 100 patients strewn across runway.
“It’s the responders’ responsibility to triage, treat and transport to area hospitals in an efficient time frame,” Kenney says.
The FAA-mandated drill is held at Dulles airport every three years with first responders from ten surrounding jurisdictions.