Emergency Response Procedures
To ensure we maintain the best safety standards, we have an Emergency Management Plan focused on three principles—prevent, prepare and practice—integrated with a Crisis Communications plan focused on delivering open, honest and timely information.
In 2016, we tested and improved our plans through tabletop exercises and emergency simulation drills. We look at the physical impact to the facility and airfield as well as the social impact as we coordinate with local municipalities, hospitals and key stakeholders to prepare for large-scale emergencies. We involve the local community in our training and emergency preparedness, sharing information and learning from their programs. In 2016, we participated as a contributor and as an observer in the Provincial Government’s major earthquake and tsunami exercise Coastal Response.
Tabletops and Live Exercises
Every year, we conduct a series of small to medium-scale exercises to test and discuss our expected emergency responses. During 2016, we participated in a Contagious Disease Tabletop exercise with the Public Health Agency of Canada, which brought representatives from the airport community together to discuss responses and strategies for dealing with a potential viral outbreak. We also hosted an aircraft crash tabletop with our responder and partner agencies. Both exercises provided valuable training and helped YVR and our partners identify areas to improve. The Communications team held three tabletops to further discuss responses to security and operational threats and updated the Crisis Communications Plan to better meet the rapidly changing nature of traditional and online media.
In 2016 we began planning for our bi-annual, full-scale emergency exercise, which will take place in April 2017. The exercise will include a large number of participants across multiple agencies, testing our Emergency Management Plan and those of our partners while providing valuable insights that help us improve our emergency response procedures.
YVR conducts annual safety drills to ensure employees are informed and prepared for emergencies. We conducted a building assessment drill involving our employees that are trained to perform rapid damage assessments and we participated in the Great BC ShakeOut Earthquake drill. In addition, we conducted an evacuation drill for our team of trained Floor Wardens.
Incident Command Training
To ensure that YVR and our partners operate under the same emergency response principles when involved in major incidents, we partnered with the Justice Institute of BC to provide YVR-tailored Incident Command System (ICS) training in 2016. The ICS training included YVR operations and communications employees, emergency responders and partner agency personnel.
In 2016, we completed a number of terminal improvements that will help us ensure we put social considerations into our Emergency Response program. We developed a Universal Access Coordinator position in our Emergency Operations Centre to provide support for persons with disabilities. We deployed stair-descending equipment in areas that rely on elevators for vertical access. We also started upgrading the communications capabilities in our Areas of Refuge, from the basic alarm notification system to two-way voice communications.