Sirens blaring, emergency lights flashing, people running for help and people on the ground on the airfield at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport Thursday morning. Do not worry, it was just a drill.
“We do this as real as possible. That’s why you smell the aircraft fuel. That’s why we set fires. That’s why we have this, so we can best serve the people we promised we would to be there for you,” explained Chief Anthony Williams of BTR Airport Police and Aircraft Fire Fighting Department.
Chief Williams said the disaster drill is all to help train first responders and keep the public safe in case of a real disaster.
“We’re simulating an incident involving an aircraft. The aircraft didn’t land properly. We have some injured, and unfortunately, simulated fatalities, and what we do is call in all of our mutual responders. So, they come in, and they test their system,” said Williams.
“That’s why we have the drill, so we can test that plan. It gives us an opportunity for those outside agencies to come in, look at how they would respond, and how they would perceive the incident, and then react and just work together as one cohesive unit to treat every one that’s injured and get the airport open up again,” explained Ralph Hennessy, the interim aviation director of BTR Metro Airport.
Along with airport first responders, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge Fire Department and other agencies across the parish participated in this drill.
“The long-term goal is, if an event actually happens like this, that we’ll respond the way be practiced today,” said Sgt. Robert Stikes, the training coordinator at BTR Metro Airport.
Officials said this drill is required by the Federal Aviation Administration at least once every three years for commercial airports.