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Mock-disaster tests local emergency response

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By Tom Flanigan

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-953202.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Tallahassee's airport was the scene of a make-believe catastrophe this Thursday morning. Tom Flanigan reports it was a test to see how the area's emergency responders handle a major disaster.

The airport's Dallas Tucker was giving observers a preview of the imaginary disaster, made even more realistic by the dense morning fog that blanketed the scene.

An imaginary passenger plane had crashed along the airport's north/south runway. A nearly life-size mock aircraft was set on fire to complete the illusion.

There were sixty-five crash victims lying in the debris field beside the plane. Volunteer Donna Flippo, made up to look badly hurt, was among them.

"First degree burns over here, third degree here and then I have a broken leg too She died and she has a head injury."

The Federal Aviation Administration requires the airport to conduct emergency response exercises every three years. It tests both the airport's readiness as well as the degree of coordination among emergency response agencies.