CEDAR CITY — Iron County law enforcement, fire officials and first responders are at the Cedar City Airport this evening participating in a disaster drill that simulates a real-life emergency scenario.
The multi-agency exercise involves a simulated airplane crash, Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson wrote in a Facebook post.
“As part of this exercise, a large amount of fuel was detonated, causing a large fireball/mushroom cloud,” Wilson wrote. “We wanted everyone to know that the fireball was planned so we can minimize the number of 911 calls that come in to our dispatch center.”
Simulated injuries on multiple people acting as victims will help make the exercise more realistic, as will the presence of every agency that mobilizes during such an emergency.
Cedar City News Reporter Tracie Sullivan is on scene and will provide an update to this initial report.
Update on the mock disaster: At least 14 people are dead and 20 more injured Tuesday night after a SkyWest airline jet and a private Cessna two-person aircraft crashed into each other. Authorities are still investigating the scene and assessing 19 more people who were on the planes, said Cedar City Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Jerry Womack.
The disaster was all part of a mock exercise mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration every two to three years for local emergency responders.
“It’s set up to help us know how to respond and work together if in fact there was a real disaster that occurred,” Womack said.
After the fuel was detonated several emergency crews mobilized and responded to the scene in real time as though there had really been an airplane crash at the Cedar City Airport.
To make it even more real, actors played various roles in the scenario such as victims who were injured and dead on the runway. There were also family members inside the airport waiting for more information about their loved ones they had just seen off on the SkyWest flight.
Authorities also set up a media command post for the press to receive more information about the incident.
The Cedar City Fire and Police Departments, Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Highway Patrol and Gold Cross Ambulance all participated in the scenario.
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