Command post staffed 24/7 to ensure safe Sun 'n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland

Posted at 7:38 PM, Apr 04, 2017

As thousands of aviation enthusiasts embark on Lakeland, Florida for the annual Sun ’n Fun Fly-In, an army of first responders are camped out and standing by to ensure another safe event.

During the event, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport becomes the single busiest airport in the country due to the number of take-offs and landings, but it may also be one of the safest.

A representative from nearly every agency you can dream of is on site.

“To get in and get out with the very large crowds that Sun ’n Fun has, it makes sense to have the folks here,” said Paul Womble, Program Manager with Emergency Management of Polk County.

The command post is a city within the city, packed full of RV’s, radio towers, and monitors showing every angle of the action.

The site is staffed day and night with crews that are at the ready in case of a crash landing or a medical emergency.

Then right next-door is the National Weather Service.

They became regulars at the command post every since a terrifying incident in 2011 when a quick-moving storm popped up and a tornado touched down.

“The tornado missed the campground with 35 hundred people in it by about 100 yards. So it was a scary situation,” said Daniel Noah with the National Weather Service.

New this year, organizers installed big jumbo-trons alerting people of an emergency and now even a siren if the weather turns really ugly.

“We’ll let emergency management know hours ahead of time if something is happening,” said Noah.

If all goes well, the team of first responders will be bored all week — a sign of a safe and successful airplane extravaganza.