The Greater Sudbury Airport conducted their full-scale emergency and security training exercise last month. The exercise involved six first responder agencies and over 30 volunteers. Transport Canada mandates that Canadian airports test their emergency response plan every three years with a full-scale exercise.
The exercise was managed by Loomex, a Canadian company that specializes in emergency exercise training scenarios, compliance, and strategic planning for airports. “Our job is to recreate emergency scenarios that test the people, processes, and communications of an airport emergency response plan,” comments Loomex’s CEO, Trent Gervais.
The simulated scenario included a Q400 incursion off the runway with seventy-five passengers and four crew. The scenario presented airport emergency crews with a threat of tornado warnings, and a crash scene that spread across a large area of the airside infield, with actors for passengers presenting with numerous critical to non-life-threatening injuries. There were numerous fatalities as well as a baby that was not on the fabricated airline’s manifest.
“As the scenario progresses, and the first-responders are successfully managing the situations, we then throw in additional scenarios, both on-site and for the airport’s Emergency Command Center team and their security and communications team to handle,” comments Gervais.
Stephane Lagrandeur, the Incident Commander on scene said, “While we have a highly-skilled team of aircraft fire fighters at the airport, if an incident of this magnitude happened, we would be relying on other agencies. This was an opportunity for all of us to work together on the dynamics of a large group of first responders on one scene. Congratulations to everyone involved, we did see improved communications from the last exercise.”
“Working in our Emergency Coordination Centre for this mock exercise, especially for my first time, was quite intense,” said Jean-Mathieu Chénier, Director of Airport Excellence & Innovation. “You see first-hand how critical communication and coordination is between the organizations.”
“The latest emergency exercise demonstrated once again the level of competence of the Greater Sudbury Airport fire services, staff and responding partners have when dealing with significant emergency situations, added Gervais.