Lubbock tests emergency protocol for disaster drill - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock tests emergency protocol for disaster drill

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LUBBOCK, Texas -


An American Airlines 737 goes up in flames at Lubbock airport, sending thick black clouds of smoke into the air as 10,000 pounds of fuel burns.

But this is just a drill.

The terrifying scene is part of a run through of the city's emergency disaster plan.

Every 3 years the Federal Aviation Administration requires a full-scale scenario like this one. 

"We have skills, but if you put it on a shelf and don't use it, you lose it," Battalion Chief Bill Glass said. "When you do stuff like this, it just polishes up what you know and you don't have to sit there and go, okay... what do I do in this scenario? You just react. " 

The "call" came in at 7:45 A.M. and from there, first responders, hospitals, and city management sprang into action. 

Preparations have been underway for the past 9 months. 

"Drilling shows where your weaknesses are, and what you can work on. And it also just helps you have muscle memory," Dr. Charles Bayouth, trauma medical director at Covenant Health, said.

To make the scenario as realistic as possible, volunteers pretended to be crash victims, with injuries ranging from minor to severe.


"On the scene, they're breaking down the victims into triage colors. Which are red, yellow, green and black tags. Red are your immediate, those are your most severe," Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Rachel Dolan said.

"What we would like to do is make sure we do a better jobs this time tracking what patients we have and where they go," Marketing Director at UMC Eric Finley said.

Area hospitals like UMC and Covenant Health are put to the test balancing treating real patients, while receiving an influx of pretend crash victims. 

Meanwhile, American Airlines employees were on crisis management working with family and friends of the passengers.

"It's never going to truly be realistic, of course, but it is good to have mishaps happen in these situations so they can prepare for them,"  Finley said.

To keep the city running smoothly, the Emergency Operations Center was fully staffed during the drill. 



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