Emily Cassulo

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Video: First Responders do Emergency Exercise at Tupelo Airport

By Chad Groening

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — First responders in Tupelo are preparing for the unexpected.

Law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics took over the Tupelo Regional Airport, Saturday as part of their training to keep area travelers safe during an emergency.

They do this full scale emergency exercise every three years.

“The big key to safety and security and emergency response at the Tupelo Airport is our practice,” said airport manager Josh Abramson. “And every three years we do what we call a full scale drill. And this is that drill.”}

And this year the Tupelo Police Department was able to be more involved by responding to the bad guys who were trying to meet a plane that has landed at the airport.

“We will definitely pick up a few pointers where we missed the mark, what areas we need to improve on, you know, how we need to go about and improve on our technique,” said Police Chief Bart Aguirre.

Kristi Harlow was one of the Itawamba Community College nursing students who played a victim that has been hit in the bomb blast.

“It would be very serious,” Harlow said. “I would probably not be talking to you right now. It’s a concussion and it depends on how deep the wound would have been. Especially right here because that would be close to your corraded artery.”

Because Universal Asset Management is located right here at the Tupelo Airport, it made it very easy to find a 737 to use for this exercise. It made it very realistic.

The Swat team stormed the plane and took out the bad guys, making sure that all the passengers were safe.

Tandi Cox is another ICC student who played a passenger who got shot.

“It was a little bit scary because they make it so realistic so it actually did make your adrenline rush like you’re really dead on the plane,” Cox said. “And it really can happen and I think it’s really good for them to do things like this for people to know what to do in the real world. Things like this can definitely hit close to home. You never know, it could happen anywhere.”

And if it happens for real in Tupelo, the response teams intend to be ready.