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Disaster drills at LAX and Rose Bowl let emergency workers test their readiness

Travelers line the roadway outside terminals at LAX after a shooting at the airport in 2013. On Wednesday, officials will conduct a drill to test the facility's emergency response system.

Travelers line the roadway outside terminals at LAX after a shooting at the airport in 2013. On Wednesday, officials will conduct a drill to test the facility’s emergency response system.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters and other emergency crews held full-scale drills Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport and the Rose Bowl to test their response to an airline accident and other disasters.

About 150 volunteers at LAX donned makeup and wore props to simulate injuries resulting from a plane crashing into a vehicle on the tarmac around 10:15 a.m. Controlled explosions on the ground were meant to reproduce a crash and fire.

Five hundred employees from about 20 agencies, including Los Angeles police and fire personnel, participated in the two-hour drill, which did not affect flights.

The exercise is required by the Federal Aviation Administration and is held every three years to test the airport’s emergency response system. The simulation made use of a Boeing 777, a debris field and six new firefighting rescue vehicles purchased recently for nearly $6 million. The trucks feature a boom that can puncture an aircraft’s fuselage and pump in water or foam.

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“LAX welcomed nearly 75 million travelers last year — people we must take every possible step to protect,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the event. “This air exercise is an incredible collaborative feat that puts the training and skill of our first responders on full display. We can all feel safer knowing these brave men and women are ready to act if disaster should strike.”

Meanwhile, about 11 a.m., helicopters from police departments throughout the region held disaster drills on the lawn of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for about three hours. Aerial fleets practiced descents and takeoffs on a grass lot southeast of Gate A.

The event was not open to the public, but the aircraft were visible for miles.

Twitter: @byjsong

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