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It's Only A Drill: County Agencies Hold MIA Disaster Drill

MIAMI (CBS4) -- What may look like a real airport disaster unfolding at Miami International Airport on Thursday was really just a training drill.

Crews from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, along with the Miami-Dade Aviation Department and the Miami-Dade Police Department honed their skills in a realistic disaster training exercise.

Hundreds of professionals from these agencies have simulated a full-scale emergency exercise at MIA to test and evaluate the airport's emergency plan and ability to respond to a major emergency.

During the disaster drill, crews simulated the transport of multiple injured passengers via ambulance and air rescue helicopter. The specific scenario involved a Boeing 737 carrying 120 passengers and five crew members and it collides with a Beechcraft 900 with 13 passengers and two crew members while taking off.

"When there's an airplane crash everyone is concerned, specifically with news cycles, twitter and facebook and all the social media there," captain Eric Baum with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said.

The exercise is required by the Federal Aviation Administration every three years as part of the airports recertification process.

Communication the main focus with the drill, making sure not only the public stays informed but also that firefighters work in conjunction with rescue crews to treat passengers.

Exercising an emergency plan when there are 25 different agencies involved and figuring out the logistics is the key Baum said.

"This is truly a drill to check a-to-z all the things that are needed," Baum said. "How do you get a fire truck on to the airport with out running into the path of another plane. The airline industry and the airport work to set up phone banks incase they have to call victims' families."


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