Today, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) hosted an airport-wide training exercise simulating a security threat and an airplane crash to practice emergency response plans with business partners and the airport community.
“YVR’s Emergency Management Plan focuses on three principles: Prevent, Prepare and Practice. This is the first year we have held two separate but coinciding incidents which allowed us to test the plan in extreme conditions,” said Steve Hankinson, Vice President, Operations Vancouver Airport Authority. “The scenarios today were chosen to involve as many responders and business partners as possible and I am pleased to say that we effectively and efficiently worked together in response to both incidents.”
YVR’s Emergency Management Plan deals with all emergency situations including aircraft incidents, natural disasters, medical emergencies, security threats and biological hazards. Emergency exercises are a key part of YVR’s Emergency Management Plan and are performed on a regular basis. Emergency exercises can include live scenario training, table-top exercises and emergency simulation drills. YVR’s Emergency Management Plan is assessed and refined on an ongoing basis to incorporate knowledge gained through real-life and simulated emergency situations and the latest developments in airport safety and emergency management.
Today’s training exercise included two separate components. The first, a mock bomb threat, was designed to test the threat assessment response, coordination between agencies and the communication handover between incidents. The second exercise was larger in scale and focused on a mock airplane crash. The scenario involved a passenger aircraft that landed short of the South Runway hitting the dyke on Sea Island. The force of the impact caused the airplane to break in two; one part of the airplane landed in the Fraser River close to shore while the other half ended up on land. The simulated aircraft wreckage was attended to by emergency responders in both areas. A family and friends zone was also set up to simulate the care and dissemination of information needed during an emergency. More than 180 volunteers played injured victims, passengers, family members and mock media, giving everyone involved a realistic experience.
Twenty four agencies participated in today’s training exercise including: Air Canada, BC Ambulance Service, BC Coroners Services, Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Border Services Agency, City of Richmond, London Air Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Salvation Army and Transport Canada and United States Customs and Border Protection.