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Cape Town International airport tests emergency readiness
Friday, February 26, 2010 | 00:00

 
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) activated its full scale emergency exercise at 11h30 today.

By 15h03 this afternoon the exercise, which included participation from agencies such as the South African National Defence Force, the South African Police Services, Disaster Management, Emergency Medical Response, amongst others, stood down.

The exercise which is held every second year, is mandated by South African Aviation legislation as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). “This is a full-scale exercise designed to thoroughly test emergency procedures and responses and includes all the participants which would be called upon in the event of a major aircraft incident at the airport”, says Deidre Hendricks, Communications Manager, ACSA: CTIA.


The exercise scenario simulated an aircraft crash on landing. ACSA together with the various emergency response role players have done extensive planning in preparation for today’s exercise. “Emergency response preparedness is an important aspect of our work at the airport. Because an emergency response requires co-operation between various role players, it is critical that we jointly test and rehearse our procedures regularly” continued Hendricks.

The exercise provides the various agencies the opportunity to test all elements of their emergency response plans including capabilities of emergency equipment, personnel, and communication systems. “Key to the exercise is the opportunity to identify and proactively correct problems in airport emergency planning, hence the intended outcome is hopefully to reveal any inherent weaknesses in our procedures”, Hendricks added.


The exercise Code named Operation Blue Crane, saw Blue Crane Airlines crash on landing with a Boeing 777, carrying 215 passengers and 8 crew on board. In total there were approximately 500 participants ranging from the various role players and other volunteers who ‘acted’ as passengers, observers and so forth.

“Upon receipt of the emergency call made by the airport, the Disaster Risk Management Centre activated all the Emergency Agencies. The responding agencies were dispatched and arrived within minutes of the initial emergency call which included Disaster Risk Management Centre, Fire and Rescue Services, Traffic Services, Law Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services and Other Specialised Units. The City has deployed 30 fire vehicles to Cape Town International Airport to support and assist with fire fighting and rescue efforts from 12 Fire Stations City-Wide. Law Enforcement Officers have also been deployed to assist with crowd control and to do point-duties at intersections to ensure free flow of traffic and that operations at the Airport is not impacted upon. It appears that responding agencies are conversant with Emergency Plan Procedures and dealt with the situation effectively”, said Wilfred Solomons-Johannes from the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre.

“Key to the exercise is the opportunity to identify and proactively correct problems in airport emergency planning, hence the intended outcome is hopefully to reveal any inherent weaknesses in our procedures”, Hendricks added.

Normal airport operations were not affected during the emergency exercise.

For further information regarding the exercise contact:

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