In the face of danger, emergency responders only have a few crucial moments to react.
The Prince George Airport Authority put its emergency response skills to the test Thursday. A number of agencies took part in “Operation Pressure Cooker,” the name for an exercise to keep all passengers safe in the event of disaster.
Like a scene out of an action movie, fire crews, police, and medical responders tackled billowing black spoke and flames as part of a training exercise. Director of Operations at the Prince George Airport, Cuyler Green, says it involved five different emergency agencies responding to the fake scene of an aircraft bombing. “The scenario that we did today involved two primary components,” he said. “An emergency response from a fire and medical standpoint and then a security response, because we had an improvised explosive device go off on the airport.”
Green works in the Emergency Operations Centre helping lead a team to communicate with emergency responders. “This is put together with members of the response agencies to support people who are actually at the front lines, so if they say we need buses or these resources or that resources, we source them out and get them to them.”
All airports across the country are required by Canadian Aviation Regulations to conduct emergency operation tests every four years, but Marketing and Communication Director for the Prince George Airport, Lindsay Cotter, says staff are constantly preparing for the worst. “We find it very important to be training them on a regular basis, so about once a month or every two months, we provide workshops on operations specific things,” Cotter said. “Whether it’s radio training or learning how to set up a road block in the event that they would have to do that during an emergency.”
Moving forward, a report is filed to Transport Canada to look at what went right or wrong with the exercise.