Full-Scale Emergency Response Exercise at LAX Draws Nearly 200 First Responders

04/10/2019 04:26 PM

April 10, 2019

Charles H. Pannunzio
(424) 646-5260
LAFD firefighters carry a person portraying an accident victim toward an ambulance during the 2019 AirEx exercise held at LAX on Wednesday.

(Los Angeles, CA) Nearly 200 emergency response personnel from 20 organizations took part today in the 2019 LAX Air Exercise (AirEx), a full-scale simulation designed to test Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX’s) readiness to respond to an aircraft accident on the airfield. 


The objective of the exercise is to evaluate the operational capability and readiness of LAX’s incident management and emergency response system in a real-time environment in which people, equipment and materials are mobilized and deployed.  


“The safety and security of our guests is paramount, and this exercise allows our staff and our partners, including the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Airport Police and federal agencies, to practice in real time the skills they will need if a major incident were to occur,” said Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director, Operations and Emergency Management, LAWA. “The AirEx, which is just one of the numerous ways our teams train for emergencies throughout the year, is our largest full-scale training exercise, and will result in better coordination and enhanced readiness for all involved.” 

"Every day we work hand in hand with our public safety and airport operations partners to keep LAX safe and secure. This tri-annual FAA AirEx provides us with an opportunity to work on our emergency response, incident command and control strategies in a full-scale operation," said Patrick Gannon, Deputy Executive Director, Public Safety and Security, LAWA. "We understand that familiarity, planning, experience and training are imperative, and that's primary to our mission here at LAX.“


“The most important thing we do is respond to emergencies. The second most important thing we do is train for them, and this full scale emergency exercise is as good as they come,” said Captain II Erik Scott, Public Information Officer, Los Angeles Fire Department. “This real-time drill ensures successful interoperability between key agencies during an aircraft accident on the airfield, ensuring we provide the best emergency service possible to those we proudly serve.”


The scenario for today's exercise was the emergency landing of an aircraft, followed by a fire. About 150 volunteers role-played accident victims, including many in moulage – special effects makeup applied to simulate injuries. The exercise was monitored by a number of professional evaluators, and nearly 300 observers were also on hand to learn from the large-sale training. This included observers representing 20 airlines and airport stakeholders, as well as representatives of the consulates of 13 nations, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Greece, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Kenya, Canada and Brazil.

In addition to the emergency response, the exercise tested LAWA's plans for support of victims of an aircraft disaster and the affected airline by expediting patient tracking and reunification of friends and family. For the first time, observers were also able to see how hospitals would process transported patients, set up family support and share information with LAX, the airline and federal agencies.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires the unrehearsed exercise to be conducted by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) at least once every three years. LAWA officials will use information gathered during the exercise to help further refine emergency response plans at LAX.

Organizations represented at today’s exercise included LAWA,  the Los Angeles Fire Department; the American Red Cross-Los Angeles Chapter; Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Department and Coroner’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; FAA; Transportation Security Administration (TSA); U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Cedars Sinai, Kaiser Permanente and Southwest Airlines. Allegiant Air provided one of its Airbus A319 aircraft to use as a backdrop.

Los Angeles Airport Police work at the incident command post during Thursday's AirEx exercise.

About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) 

LAX, the fourth-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States, was named a top-10 U.S. airport by SKYTRAX. LAX served more than 87.5 million passengers in 2018 and offers an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 109 cities in the U.S. and 1,281 weekly nonstop flights to 93 markets in 47 countries on 69 commercial airlines. LAX ranks 10th in the world in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.4 million tons of air cargo. LAX handled 707,883 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2018.  

LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion; $966 million in state and local taxes; and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.


LAX was honored as having the “Best Overall Customer Service Program” by Airports Council International-North America; named the “Best Airport for Breastfeeding Moms” by Mamava; selected for the Top 10 “Best of the U.S.’s Big Airports” (Wall Street Journal) and “Most Pet-Friendly Airports in the U.S. (Mental Floss); named the second-most improved airport in the U.S. by JD Power; received an “Innovation Award” from the L.A. Better Business Challenge for its Central Utility Plant; and named  a “Business Leader in Air Quality” by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

LAX is also the second-most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram, according to wego.com. LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.   

For more information about LAX, please visit   www.flyLAX.com or follow on Twitter   @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook at   www.facebook.com/LAInternationalAirport, and on YouTube at   www.YouTube.com/laxairport1.  

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities.  Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request.


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