TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - It looks like a scene out of a disaster movie or a worst case scenario at the airport, but it's not -- it's a vital training exercise designed to prepare responders in the event of a mass tragedy.
The only way to prepare for an emergency situation is to experience one and today, that's what Tallahassee International Airport officials along with Tallahassee police, firefighters, and Leon County EMS did.
Driving to the airport and seeing a flaming fuselage might be alarming... luckily today's flames were only a drill.
"We are at Tallahassee International Airport doing our required three year full scale mock disaster training excercise," said Lizzy Kelly, senior public information officer, "and this helps us stay compliant with FAA regulations."
"There are 30 agencies and organizations-- and all those agencies would play a role in any kind of disaster that would happen here at the airport," said Jim Durwin, superintendent of airport operations at TIA. "We had a lot of fire and smoke and those sort of things. And then we had medivac helicopters come in with all the first responders, so it was a very realistic feel to really test their ability to respond to an emergency."
First responders say that after Thursday's exercise, they're more prepared to protect.
"I think the most difficult part of a response like this whether its training or in real life is the fact that these are people's lives," said Kelly.
In addition to the 30 agencies that participated, more than 100 volunteers helped to play "victims" for paramedics.