Plane 'crashes' into tanker at Griffith airport in training exercise I Photos

MORE than 50 fire fighters, paramedics, police officers and SES members put their skills to the test in a disaster training exercise at the Griffith airport on Wednesday night.

Emergency Management Officer for the Riverina-Murray region, Scott Fullerton, said the emergency drill, that simulated a collision of a light plane with a water tanker, was a field exercise that would not only help first responders to become familiar with the airport, but would also improve the working relationships between agencies.

"It is a requirement for the airport to have a field exercise with emergency crews every two years," Mr Fullerton said.

He said the exercise would help to identify potential problems and issues that could arise from large-scale operations involving casualties and injuries as well as hazardous materials requiring response from different emergency agencies.

"It is important that police, the fire service, SES and the ambulance work well together in case of a real emergency," Mr Fullerton said.

"Exercises help with the familiarisation with emergency protocols."

NSW Fire and Rescue Duty Commander Rick Jones said as a major part of local infrastructure it was extremely important to train emergency crews at the Griffith airport.

"We test out whether procedures are functional, how well communication works between the services and how people work together," he said.

"By putting protocols in place and looking at what can be done better, we try to be as prepared as possible for potential real emergencies at the airport - and we make sure that everyone is singing off the same song sheet."

Town and rural fire crews from Hanwood, Yenda and Griffith attended the mock airport disaster, together with ambulance, police and local SES personnel.