Salt Lake City International Airport holds mock disaster drill

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SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City International Airport put its emergency plan to the test on Friday.

A United flight from San Francisco to Chicago was having hydraulic problems so it had to make an emergency landing at Salt Lake City International Airport. Upon landing, it caught fire. But don’t worry, it was just a drill.

“We have to create a situation like this so that we can test ourselves,” said Cory Huffman, Salt Lake City Fire Airport Captain.

The training gave airport officials, along with various emergency agencies in the area a chance to practice their emergency plan in case a disaster happens in real life.

“Our guys have to position appropriately to get that fire out, protect that fuselage, protect people inside and create a survivable environment so we can then get inside and get them out,” said Huffman.

Coordinated communication between agencies is key to keep travelers safe.

“We have the incident command system in place and all these things that help us manage chaos,” said Huffman. “I think it went very well. We came up with the right numbers of people treated and transported, and we know where everybody went.”

Among the debris, there were also mock victims.

“We had 65 volunteers today who were dressed up with different levels of injury from bleeding to bones sticking out to being deceased,” said Huffman.

The exercise is designed to be as realistic as possible so first responders can test their speed, skill and preparedness.

“The reason this is important to do is we have a plan on paper, but until you actually practice it, you don`t understand the items that are missing, maybe things that need to be worked on more,” said Nancy Volmer, Salt Lake City Department of Airports Spokesperson.

Airport officials say they had resources in place during the training to keep the airport open and protect travelers.