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May 5, 2023

First responders will be conducting a full-scale exercise at Westchester County Airport on Saturday morning that simulates the crash of a commercial jet aircraft.

 Airline travelers and other members of the public will observe multiple fire, police and EMS agencies responding at the airport from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and conducting the drill on airport grounds.  There is no emergency. This is only a drill.

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 The exercise will feature dozens of volunteer victims, strategically placed debris such as suitcases and airplane parts, and a simulated fire that will visible for a time.

 The drill is organized by the Westchester County Airport, the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services and the Westchester County Police. The full-scale emergency drill is designed to test the response to a catastrophic incident on airport grounds.

 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that all airports certified to serve aircraft containing nine or more passenger seats, such as Westchester County Airport (HPN), must have and maintain an Airport Emergency Plan. The plan must be designed to minimize the possibility and extent of personal injury and property damage on the airport in an emergency.

 The exercise, which runs until about 1 p.m., will serve as practice for the emergency service agencies that would normally respond to an aircraft incident at the airport. Firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel, the County’s Hazardous Materials Team, the FBI, American Red Cross and other emergency workers and airport staff will simulate the duties they would perform in an actual emergency.

 Volunteers who have been dressed up with simulated injuries will be extricated from the scene and carried to waiting ambulances.  Inside the airport, another scenario will unfold where airline employees and the American Red Cross will establish a family assistance center.

 The FAA requires that HPN review the emergency plan annually and test it through a full-scale exercise at least once every three years.  Westchester County Airport conducts the full-scale exercise every two years.

 A runway and several taxiways will be closed during the exercise. The airport’s main runway will remain open and the drill will not impact commercial or general aviation operations.

 For more information about the exercise please contact airport operations at (914) 995-4850.

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