Airport Emergency Preparedness Exercise – An Excellent Learning Experience
GREATER SUDBURY, ONTARIO –– At 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, September 30th, the Greater Sudbury Airport put its Emergency Response Plan to the test. ‘Operation ALEX’ was a full-scale emergency training exercise developed to assess the airport’s ability to follow through with their official emergency plan and procedures.
The exercise which involved airport personnel, security, fire fighting services as well as airline personnel, was an excellent opportunity to rehearse their ability to respond in an emergency situation. Aircraft Firefighting is a specialized trade that involves unique equipment and training designed to deal specifically with aircraft fuels spills and fires. On scene to assist, as they would in an actual emergency, were the local City of Greater Sudbury Fire detachments, Emergency Medical Services and the Greater Sudbury Police Services.
The scenario involved an aircraft on final experiences a low impact crash and comes to rest near the end of threshold 12. Several people are injured as a result. Radio information from the aircraft describes a “tactical response required.” A nineteen seat Metroliner aircraft was provided by Bearskin Airlines. Volunteer students from Cambrian College put their skills to the test while acting as injured passengers which allowed EMS and fire services to put their training into action. While it may seem like a good pitch for an action movie, the scenario allowed all local emergency services to participate, get to know the inner workings of the airport and be better prepared should a real emergency occur.
Regional airports, such as the Greater Sudbury Airport, are mandated by Transport Canada to perform a full scale emergency exercise every four years. In order to remain current however, table-top exercises are developed and put to action every year in between. “Ensuring our airport and community emergency response teams are able to work collaboratively in the face of an emergency is critical and today, were able to test our abilities to respond, as a team,” says Terra Glabb, Interim CEO of the Greater Sudbury Airport. “We look forward to the debrief to discuss what worked well and what areas require improvement in order to ensure we are prepared should a true aircraft incident occur.”
All participating agencies will gather after having had a chance to review the exercise with their staff and return to the discussion table to share their experience and suggestions for improvement.