LUBBOCK, Texas – Multiple agencies participated in a full-scale public safety exercise required by the Federal Aviation Administration at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport on Wednesday.

The exercise imitated the scene of a box truck plowing through a fence into a plane. At least 70 volunteers played roles as victims of the crash. The exercise required full deployment of resources as if a real incident with ties to a known domestic terror group had occurred.   

“The importance of this is to ensure that we continue to improve all the time and that we’re always taking a critical look at our policies and procedures so that we can better serve the community,” said Nikolas Fort, Deputy Director of Emergency Management for the City of Lubbock.

More than 300 participants moved immediately into action, “Some federal partners including the TSA, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office are here. The American Red Cross is going to be involved to help us with a Family Assistance Center later, and then the Salvation Army and UMC EMS will be helping as well,” said Fort. 

This training exercise put policies, procedures and emergency plans to the test. 

“Our first responders are always prepared, however, continuous exercise and practice, as well as that continuing improvement for our policies and procedures helps ensure that we stay at the top of our game so that we can help protect the community not just on their worst day, but every day,” said Fort. 

The exercise is required every three years and involves a criminal investigation component to be completed, making sure agencies and other departments are prepared to handle any major emergencies that could occur at the airport.