Passengers and nearby residents may see numerous emergency vehicles as well as a C-130 military aircraft at Long Beach Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 20, as the facility undergoes its triennial full-scale emergency exercise.
The federally mandated drill, which must take place once every three years, tests the airport’s emergency plan with other agencies and first responders, including the fire and police departments, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications Department, Long Beach Search and Rescue, American Red Cross, Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center, Long Beach VA Hospital, U.S. Air Force Reserves, and ambulance services.
“Drills are vital to ensure airport personnel are always ready to respond to emergency situations,” airport spokesperson Marlene Arrona said in an email Monday, adding that no delays or interruptions to normal airport operations are expected.
The exercise features dozens of volunteers who act as passengers who are part of a mass casualty incident. The various agencies act out the emergency plan for such events, evacuating the “wounded” and “deceased” victims.
The drill is observed and evaluated by the Federal Aviation Administration as well as other peer agencies. Subsequent reports and recommendations are then incorporated into future versions of the airport’s emergency response plan, according to city staff.