Hartsfield-Jackson holds ‘Big Bird’ airplane disaster drill

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport held a mass casualty emergency response drill on Thursday simulating an airplane disaster.

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

The exercise, which the Atlanta airport calls "Big Bird," is required by the Federal Aviation Administration every three years.

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Volunteers act as victims, with makeup to show injuries. Firefighters practice extinguishing an airplane fire, and those responding practice triage and treating nearly 150 "victims."

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

The Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, Atlanta Police Department and airport officials participate in the drill, which is designed to test the effectiveness of emergency response at the world’s busiest airport.

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

A mock aircraft at the airport’s fire training center off Lake Mirror Road is used for the event. The FAA also requires airports to conduct annual emergency preparedness drills.

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

While Hartsfield-Jackson struggled with a massive power outage that hobbled operations last December, the Big Bird exercise and other similar drills often focus on incidents like airplane crashes that result in casualties.

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

Credit: PHIL SKINNER

VIDEO -- More about the Atlanta airport: