City of Midland Stages Airport Disaster Drill

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A cry for help, and emergency personnel came to the rescue.

It was all part of a disaster drill at the Midland International Airport, where more than 150 volunteers came together to simulate a real life plane crash.

"737 took off here at the airport and hit a flock of large birds. We're testing all of our mutual aid agencies all of our everday personel to see how they would react should this be a real situation," Justine Ruff, Deputy Director of Airports, said.

The drill was staged to evaluate the response times of emergency crews and to learn how to save lives.

"I think it's an adrenaline thing. You're not prepared until it happens. You just practice and hope that what you know will kick in," Volunteer Wendi Lyle, said.
Midland and Odessa hospitals were also involved in the disaster drill, taking in every person seeking medical attention.

"It helps to see who needs to be first, and who's desperate," Lyle said.

Every 3 years, the Midland International Airport is required to take part in a disaster drill, and officials say it's the best way to be prepared for any given situation.

"I think we never know exactly what's going to happen, when it happens. All we can do is to be prepared as we can.   I think it's an excellent experience for all of us as a professional, victim, and volunteer," Volunteer Brandy Ford, said.

"We learn so much from these if things don't go right. There are things we can take care of if we do have an actual problem," Ruff said.

"You can't pick when a disaster happens, that fact that it's raining put a different twist on things," Lyle said.

It was a test that could pay off in real life.