First responders to take part in airport disaster drill Thursday

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Every two years, emergency personnel conduct a functional exercise of an airport disaster drill at the Dothan Regional Airport.

“If you see an increase in law enforcement or fire and EMS presence around the airport tomorrow we are not having an actual event,” Dothan Fire Deputy Chief Chris Etheredge said. “That it is a planned exercise that we’re working through.”

The day-long exercise will be divided into three phases. Federal, state, and local authorities will all be taking part in the drills.

All phases of an interdisciplinary event will be tested during the exercise.

“We’ll (have) a mass casualty incident such as an aircraft mishap that has produced multiple patients,” Etheredge said. “We’ll also be testing a law enforcement component, as well as a hazardous material component. Not all of those are happening on airport property, but they will be in close proximity.”

Testing the mass causality plan in an airport disaster drill helps emergency responders if something were to happen.

“Testing here in an airport type environment allows us to adjust our plan, make sure everybody is trained on the plan and make any adjustments that we may need,” Etheredge said. “So, when it happens on the Ross Clark Circle or if we have an evacuation at a local business due to a hazardous material type event we’ve tested each of those elements and we’re able to modify those and make sure they’re well-executed when the real event happens.”

Etheredge said that the airport will still remain open during the exercise and that there will be no impact on daily operations.

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