DFW Airport undergoes WMD drill

7/19/2002 12:00 AM

More than 250 Dallas/Fort Worth Airport police, firefighters and paramedics worked with state and federal disaster planners to successfully complete a three-day drill in June that involved simulated terrorist attacks and mass casualty evacuations.

DFW is the nation’s 3rd busiest airport and was the first major U.S. airport to conduct a weapons of mass destruction consequence management drill. In addition to the mock passenger jet crash, which is required every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration, the airport was hit by simulated terrorist attacks involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

The exercise included simulated blows to aircraft, air terminals and other airport facilities. The scenarios included multiple catastrophic terrorist events targeting the airport in less than four hours on the day before Thanksgiving 2002.

The drill was designed to evaluate the airport’s ability to respond to a disaster and was funded by the Office of the Governor, sponsored by the Division of Emergency Management (Texas DPS) and executed by TEEX. The details of the drill were designed by TEEX and kept secret from participants. The incidents were designed to overwhelm local capabilities, requiring help from state and federal entities following a state disaster declaration. Thirty-eight state and federal entities took part, including the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Emergency crews from at least 13 neighboring communities responded to the initial simulated passenger jet crash.

The DFW participants were pleased to be able to test their plans, with their assets, on their own turf. DFW Airport Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fegan said: “ What the Airport learned this week will benefit all of our passengers and the community at large.”

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Kathy Fraser

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