Emergency exercise at Lehigh Valley International Airport

HANOVER TWP., Pa. — First responders from around the region will converge on Lehigh Valley International Airport this weekend, but officials said they want the public to know that it's only a drill.

LVIA said it is required by the FAA to stage a full-scale disaster exercise of its emergency plan every three years, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the airport to hold off for a year.

Personnel from the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA) and 35 mutual aid partners and agencies around the region will respond Saturday morning to a simulated emergency involving an aircraft. The drill will include an actual fire and 30 volunteer role players.

"While certain elements have been adapted for pandemic safety protocols, the exercise must achieve FAA standards while ensuring airport personnel and local emergency organizations are able to practice and prepare for a mutual aid response in the event of a major disaster at ABE," said Thomas R. Stoudt, the LNAA's executive director.

The exercise is set to take place from 8:15 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday at the airport's maintenance facility on Fashion Drive South. It will be closed to the public, and the airport's normal operations will not be affected, officials said.

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