If you see some alarming things going on at Piedmont Triad International Airport on Saturday, April 20 – fire, smoke, chaos, people getting emergency medical treatment – well, don’t get too alarmed.  From 9 a.m. to noon, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, along with a host of its mutual aid partners, will be conducting what it’s calling a “Full-Scale Emergency Exercise.”

During those late Saturday morning hours, flyers using the airport and those living in the area can expect to see some unusual sights and experience increased traffic around the terminal.

PTIA conducts these large emergency drills once every three years to help make sure the airport is prepared for various types of emergency exercises.

The mock emergency scenario is required for airports by the Federal Aviation Administration.

PTIA officials have wisely notified the local media ahead of time and asked them to help get the word out so as to reduce the potential fear and alarm of those who otherwise might not realize what’s going on.

No worries. It’s all pretend and it’s all for a good reason.

“This exercise is designed to reinforce training tactics used during firefighting, rescue, and security operations,” a notice from the Airport Authority states. “This training will prepare everyone to perform their duties as a team under true emergency conditions.”

The notice adds, ”We continue to prepare for the unexpected, and passenger safety remains our top priority.”

One bit of good news is that the drill isn’t expected to affect any flights or flight schedules for planes either coming in or going out of the airport that morning.

The Airport Authority board – which oversees the airport – is the ultimate decision-maker regarding its policies, and it approves events such as this one.  It is a seven-member board with seats that represent Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and Guilford County.