HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — More than one hundred volunteers turned out to help first responders simulate a mass-casualty event on Huntsville International Airport Runway 18L Thursday.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to learn, practice emergency response, to really be prepared should the day we hope never comes,” Huntsville Port Authority Public Safety Director Chris Scott told News 19. “Should that day come, we’re better prepared. We have better opportunities to learn and improve so that we’re ready to provide the best service that we can.”
Scott said it’s a collective effort to perfect that response, along with first responders like airport firefighters, ambulances, the Red Cross, and volunteer actors.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to come out and help the community,” Huntsville resident Jeff Lascola said. “I hadn’t done this part before. I worked with the police department before volunteering. And I thought it’d be great and now I’ve met a bunch of new people.”
Sisters Leah Ferguson and Heather Bolding drove from Hartselle to take part, happy to wear fake gruesome injuries for a purpose.
“We’re always interested in weird stuff like this, so fake injuries was the main thing,” Ferguson said.
“If a disaster actually happened, people need to be prepared. The only way you can prepare is to practice,” Bolding added.
The FAA mandates that each passenger airport hold disaster training every three years. Thursday’s was the first at HSV Airport since 2019.
“Having live victims who have the moulage made up to show what actual injuries would look like – it just brings an extra realistic element to our drill, and is again critical for our preparedness,” Scott said.
While the runway was used for the training, no commercial flight schedules were altered, the airport said.