San José Mineta International Airport Completes Triennial Emergency Exercise

April 5, 2024
San José Mineta International Airport (SJC) completed its triennial emergency exercise on Thursday, March 28, simulating a safety incident to test emergency procedures for communication, incident command and coordination between Airports staff and multiple agencies.

Every three years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that passenger service airports conduct a full-scale emergency exercise to simulate a response to a potential aircraft disaster. This exercise allows airports to evaluate and refine their emergency response procedures and ensure that all personnel involved in executing emergency plans are well-prepared and familiar with their roles.

The exercise scheduled for March 28, 2024, began at 11 a.m. and concluded at 2 p.m. Normal operations at SJC were not impacted throughout this period.

“A full-scale emergency means a full-scale response — and today, SJC showed we are ready should disaster strike,” said Mayor Matt Mahan. “The collaboration between our airport, police, fire department, and so many public agencies from across the county was remarkable.” 

“It is essential for City employees and our partners to work as One Team to prepare for all types of emergencies at City facilities like the Airport. I applaud the efforts of the amazing and dedicated staff at SJC who work around the clock to safeguard and protect the traveling public from unforeseen emergencies,” said Jennifer Maguire, San José City Manager.

This year's exercise, simulating an aircraft crash on the north side of the airfield, encompasses a comprehensive emergency response involving stakeholders beyond the Airport, including fixed-base operators (FBOs), emergency medical services, surrounding fire and police departments. In partnership with local hospitals, the exercise simulated the transport to nearby medical facilities, using buses provided by San José Unified School District. The exercise also assessed the efficiency of the San José Fire Department and Airport Operations in securing the incident scene and the capacity of the Airport, airline and the Red Cross to promptly establish a reunification center.

“The safety and security of passengers, Airport staff and community surrounding the Airport are our highest priorities,” said SJC Director of Aviation Mookie Patel. “The triennial FAA emergency exercise is key in SJC’s ongoing process of ensuring our readiness to respond in coordination with our partners in case of any emergency. I want to extend my appreciation to everyone participating in this exercise and to the evaluators from several Northern California airports, who joined us in this effort.”

The Airport appreciates the cooperation of everyone involved and extends its gratitude towards: 
• Hawaiian Airlines
• American Red Cross
• San José Fire Department
• San José Police Department
• Emergency Medical Services, Santa Clara County
• San José Unified School District
• Transdev 
• Federal Aviation Administration
• Atlantic Aviation
• Signature Flight Support
• Cal Fire
• Office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner, Santa Clara County
• Stanford Hospital and Stanford Life Flight
• Valley Medical Center
• El Camino Health - Mountain View 
• City of Santa Clara Fire Department 
• Milpitas Fire Department
• NASA Ames Fire Department
• SJC Happy Tails Therapy Animals Volunteers
• SJC Information Booth Volunteers

The exercise also tested the capabilities of SJC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which serves as the focal point of the Airport’s efforts to minimize the impact of any emergency and restore normal operations following an event.