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It’s Only a Drill: Palm Springs International AirportPerforming Triennial Full-Scale Emergency Exercise


Palm Springs, California – On Wednesday May 12, 2021 Palm Springs International Airport will be conducting their triennial full-scale emergency exercise. The Airport is conducting this drill, a Part 139 requirement of the Federal Aviation Regulations, as part of their continued emergency response preparedness.

Palm Springs International Airport, along with local, state, and federal partners, has coordinated this full-scale drill that simulates an actual aircraft disaster. Between 10:00AM and Noon on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 area residents may see smoke at the Airport along with emergency vehicles in and around the Airport. These aspects make the training drill more realistic and provide a better training experience for emergency responders and agencies.

The Airport’s full-scale drill is their most comprehensive emergency test. It evaluates the operational capability of their emergency management system in a stress environment with actual mobilization and deployment to demonstrate coordination and response capability. This drill will use all resources and requires reaction from equipment and personnel that would normally be available if the drill were an actual aircraft emergency.

The requirement to test airfield emergency response is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Airport must coordinate its emergency plan with local law enforcement agencies, rescue and firefighting agencies, medical personnel and hospital organizations, principal airport tenants, and all other entities that have responsibility in an emergency.
Palm Springs International Airport is required to hold a full-scale exercise at least once every three years. In the two years between full-scale drills the FAA requires airports to perform tabletop exercises each year to ensure that all information, procedures, and training are current.
“These triennial drills provide the airport with a vital opportunity to assess our emergency response capabilities,” said Ulises Aguirre, Executive Director of Aviation. “They result in a high level of emergency preparedness which is needed to coordinate all resources and ensure maximum safety for all airport users.”
Palm Springs International Airport has alerted and informed all airline personnel, airport employees, and volunteers so they can alleviate concerns of any travelers at the airport during the drill.
No commercial flights, or other airport operations, will be impacted by this drill.
Entities involved in the Airport’s full-scale drill include: Palm Springs Airport Operations, Palm Springs Fire Department, Cathedral City Fire Department, Cal Fire, Airlines, FAA Air Traffic Control, Palm Springs Police Department, American Medical Response, Desert Regional Medical Center, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.
The drill will be live streamed via the Airport’s Facebook page (facebook.com/flyPSP), and a full video recording will be uploaded to the City of Palm Springs’ YouTube channel afterward.

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