Volunteers and emergency responders will participate in a simulated plane crash at the Santa Maria Public Airport on Friday, September 23, 2016. The airport will remain open for normal operations during this exercise, and those present in the terminal, restaurant and general aviation areas will be notified that this is only a drill.

The scenario is for a mass casualty incident occurring at the airport involving a 40- to 50- passenger aircraft with a post-crash fire and leaking fuel.

A special firefighting propane prop will represent the downed aircraft, and local area volunteer students and friends will act as victims for the drill.  According to Santa Maria Battalion Chief Anthony Clayburg, emergency responders will provide simulated medical care to the fake victims, who will be wearing makeup to simulate wounds.

The exercise will take place on a closed taxiway and an infield paved area, behind a commercial hangar.  Following preparations from 7:30 to 9:45 a.m., the actual drill will commence at 10:00 a.m. and will be completed by noon.  For this drill, interested media are invited to arrive at the Santa Maria Public Airport gate off South Blosser Road.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires a full-scale disaster drill every three years to test the emergency plan at airports certified for air carrier operations.  Fire Station 6 has specialized equipment and staff for Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) operations, including a Rescue Unit capable of pumping either foam or water onto an aircraft to fight the flammable liquid fires that are a major threat to life.  The goals are to exercise and increase the effectiveness of the Santa Maria Public Airport District’s Emergency plan.

Participating agencies and organizations, include the Santa Maria Public Airport District, Santa Maria Fire and Police Departments, including the City’s dispatch center, American Medical Response, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and CALSTAR Air Ambulance, SkyWest Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Marian Medical Center, Bomar Security, Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the National Safety Board.

News media representatives are encouraged to attend this exercise, which will have strong visuals.  Interested media representatives may contact Airport representative Chris Hastert on-site.  During the exercise, representatives from the Santa Maria Fire Department, Airport, and Red Cross will serve as public information officers.

Media representatives will be allowed onto the infield for reporting and photography purposes, but at sufficient distance so as not to interfere with the exercise.

Department:                             Fire Department
Contact Person:                      Battalion Chief Anthony Clayburg
Telephone Number:                  (805) 925-0951 ext. 2547
E-mail Address:                        aclayburg@cityofsantamaria.org