Polk County first responders practice commercial airline crash - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk County first responders practice commercial airline crash

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Emergency crews in Polk County spent their morning practicing what it would be like to respond to a commercial plane crash at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

The full scale disaster drill is required by the FAA at least once every three years for any airport that services commercial airlines.

Lakeland Fire Battalion Chief Maddox says the drill is designed to simulate a realistic emergency.

"The scenario was an aircraft diverted from Orlando Airport and on final approach began experiencing hydraulic problems and lost control of the aircraft, crash landed short of our runway, impacted four cars that were on a service road," Maddox said.

Emergency officials who coordinated the mock disaster got 75 high school students from the nearby Central Florida Aerospace Academy to role play as crash victims.

"It's important for us to train as we would act and perform on a real event." Maddox said.

Pete McNally, director of Polk County's Emergency Management, says crews certainly know this is not a real disaster, but even practice gets the blood pumping.

"There is a little bit of that artificiality but sure when they get dressed out and ready to come out to the scene like that there is that adrenaline flowing," McNally said.

All of the participating agencies will now review today's drill to determine what worked, what didn't and what needs improvement in the event of a real disaster. 

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