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SFO Completes Annual Full Scale Emergency Exercise

Simulated aircraft accident tests emergency response, inter-agency coordination

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) completed its annual emergency exercise on Wednesday, October 12, simulating an aircraft accident that tested emergency procedures for communication, incident command, and coordination between multiple agencies. Although federal regulations require U.S. airports to conduct such a drill every three years, SFO conducts this full-scale emergency drill annually to ensure the highest level of readiness.

"Safety is our #1 priority, and this exercise is a crucial part of our ongoing training process," said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. "I appreciate the involvement of so many local, state, and federal agencies to prepare for a well-coordinated response to any emergency event at SFO."

The exercise demonstrated the effective coordination of various agencies, including Airport staff, the San Francisco Fire Department Airport Division, the San Francisco Police Department Airport Bureau, mutual aid units from around the Bay Area, and various state and federal agencies. Over 150 volunteers, complete with make-up, participated as role-play passengers.  Alaska Airlines served as the lead airline for the exercise, practicing procedures for reunification of role-play passengers with family members. Local area hospitals also participated in drills of patient arrival and requests for information.

The exercise also demonstrated the capabilities of the SFO Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which serves as the focal point of the Airport’s efforts to restore normal operations following an event. The facility has been used extensively since its opening in 2000.