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Emergency Crews Conduct Disaster Drill At Newark Airport

Official: 'This Has Clearly Been A Success'
Newark Airport disaster drill (credit: CBS 2)

Newark Airport disaster drill (credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Fake smoke, actors and a runway all played a role in a disaster drill Saturday at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The drill was designed to give first responders and emergency workers hands-on experience in the event of an actual disaster.

The exercise simulated a crash involving two jets. More than 300 people took part in the drill, including first responders and some people acting as passengers trapped on the planes.

“There’s a lot of coordination that goes on with these exercises not only within the Port Authority itself but with the other agencies that would take part in this,” Port Authority Police Superintendent Michael Fadorka told CBS 2′s Don Dahler.

There was order, not chaos, in the rescue effort, Dahler reported.

First, firefighters in silver protective suits helped carry some of the ‘injured’ off the planes. Then police in black protective suits carrying oxygen tanks boarded the damaged planes to assist victims, Dahler reported.

A similar drill was also held Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The drill lasted two hours, but officials said an operation like this takes months to plan.

“It helps pool all of our resources to train and practice our Incident Command System,” said April Gasparri, the Aeronautical Operations Manager at LaGuardia Airport.

After the drill, officials said it offered the emergency responders invaluable practice.

“This has clearly been a success,” Gasparri told Dahler.

Another similar disaster drill was held last week at the Bayonne Bridge.