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Santa Maria first responders practice their skills

Santa Maria first responders practiced their skills Monday morning in a mock plane crash at the Santa Maria Airport.

The drill was made to look like a real disaster, tons of volunteers pretended to have injuries while first responders aided to them and fought flames.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires a full-scale disaster drill every three years to test the emergency plan at airports.

Objectives are to exercise and increase the effectiveness of the Santa Maria Public Airport District’s Emergency Plan and to encourage multiagency coordination and networking.

Controlled flames and a mock plane were used in the drill, and 60 volunteers from Hancock College who played the victims.

The exercise lasted several hours, but responders will work well into the night. The drills will last several days, including night drills to challenge their performance.

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