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BWI Holds Disaster Simulation

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Disaster drill. Airports across the country are required to stage mock emergencies just in case the real thing strikes. This weekend, BWI Thurgood Marshall conducted its large-scale simulation.

Gigi Barnett explains first responders say the learning curve gets better every year.

To feel real, it has to look real. Life-threatening injuries were simulated in a mock plane wreck at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. It's not the real thing, but what first responders and airport workers learn from the large-scale drill saves lives.

"We don't want what happened in Los Angeles where everybody was in charge and nobody was in charge," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Jim Smith. "So, I mean, this is going to be really an exercise in real life."

To pull it off, organizers found volunteers--at least 100 of them.

"They asked me if I was doing anything this weekend and I had nothing planned. I said, `Sure, I'll get out of the house.' Why not? Sounded like fun," said volunteer Jacob Kvasnik.

They also hired Hollywood makeup artists.

"This looks complicated but it actually took five minutes to put on," said special effects artist Suzanne Patterson.

And they called several first responder agencies and disaster relief, as well.

All the while, evaluators are watching and taking notes. Planning for the next mock drill starts right away.

"It takes a lot of time to organize these. We want to make sure we're looking at things differently. And so, we start to prepare for the next one right after this," said BWI CEO Paul Wiedefeld.

The FAA requires all commercial airports across the nation to host mock drills every three years.

More than 200 first responders, airport workers and volunteers participated in this weekend's mock drill.

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