A simulated plane crash enacted at the Vernon Regional Airport sparked some concerns Tuesday as a few residents wondered what was going on.
A number of local agencies took part in the emergency exercise Dec. 7 which included collaboration with the RCMP, Vernon Fire Rescue Services, Aurora Aviation and City of Vernon staff.
“This full-scale exercise is a great opportunity for all the responding agencies to get together and work through the City’s Airport Emergency Response Plan,” said Curtis Linton, airport supervisor. “An incident such as a plane crash could require the involvement of all these agencies.”
The practice scenario helps familiarize all responding agencies with the airport’s protocols and helps fulfill a regulatory requirement of conducting a full-scale scenario every four years, the city said.
“Everyone involved receives a refresher, or a new introduction to handling aircraft incidents,” said Linton. “Participants are debriefed following the practice to identify possible issues with the response and offer solutions.”
In the years when the full-scale exercise is not conducted, the city hosts an annual tabletop exercise to review the Airport Emergency Response Plan and ensure processes are understood.
“Conducting exercises like these provide us with an opportunity to practice executing emergency plans together,” said Deputy Fire Chief Alan Hofsink. “We build relationships with a number of agencies, identify gaps in emergency response plans, and make adjustments in a safe and controlled environment. These are important tools in emergency management.”
If a catastrophic airplane incident were to occur, the city’s emergency management plan would trigger an emergency alert on the City of Vernon website, which would be sent out to people who subscribe to emergency notifications.
To receive emergency notifications or updates from the city, subscribe by visiting www.vernon.ca/subscribe.