YVR Hosts Multi-Agency Emergency Response Exercise

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) today hosted a live training exercise simulating an aircraft collision to practice emergency response plans with business partners and the airport community. Airport operations proceeded as normal.

“Safety is our top priority at YVR. Training exercises, like this one today, are a vital part of YVR’s emergency management,” said Steve Hankinson, Vice President, Operations and Information Technology, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We work with our business partners and the airport community to practice our plans together and remain prepared in the unlikely event of an incident.”

The exercise scenario involved a commercial aircraft landing on the runway and crashing into a private aircraft crossing the same runway. A simulated aircraft wreckage, set on fire, was attended to by Airport Authority emergency responders. A family and friends zone was also set up to simulate the care and dissemination of information needed during an emergency. More than 600 volunteers played injured victims, passengers and family members, giving everyone involved a realistic experience.

The scenario was selected to involve as many responders as possible to test YVR’s Emergency Management Plan and those of its business partners. Planning for the exercise began in July 2014 and included the participation of 30 agencies including: BC Ambulance Service, BC Coroners Services, City of Richmond, London Air Services, Provincial Health Services Authority, Richmond Fire Rescue, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Salvation Army, Transport Canada, Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Vancouver Coastal Health and WestJet.

YVR’s Emergency Management Plan centres around three principles—prevent, prepare and practice and deals with all emergency situations including: aircraft incidents, natural disasters, medical emergencies, security threats or 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, such as this exercise; 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.