Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) conducted a Central Terminal Building emergency evacuation exercise Saturday 25 June 2011 between 22h00-23h00. The entire procedure took 12 minutes from sounding the alarm to having everyone out of the building which took approximately eight minutes, and another four minutes to get everyone back at their work stations. This exercise included all terminal spaces thus, Domestic and International departures and arrivals.
The terminal exercise is performed on an annual basis as required by Occupational Safety and as mandated by South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). As such, it was held to prepare for any eventuality with regards to evacuating the terminals in an emergency and to ensure that all airport staff understands the evacuation procedures. The exercise gave CTIA the opportunity to test and evaluate the evacuation procedures in place. “All our evacuation systems worked well but there were some critical learning’s which will be looked into moving forward. We identified that we have to adjust the volumes of our alarms to be clearly heard from all parts of the terminals without overpowering the PA system announcements either,” said Deidre Hendricks, CTIA’s Communications Manager. “We noted that as much as everyone who was in the terminal at the time moved out without panicking or running, the pace was rather slow”, added Hendricks.
“Leading up to the activation of this exercise, we conducted a number of training sessions with airport staff to ensure they fully understand the procedures. We believe that this pre-training played a huge role and contributed to the orderly way the evacuation was conducted without injuries or confusion. Normal airport operations were also not affected. So we can safely declare it a successful exercise,” said Hendricks.
Prior to the exercise, terminal announcements informing passengers and airport users were conducted and Client Managers and Customer Service personnel were on the ground to ensure passengers were fully aware that the evacuation was for exercise purposes only.
ACSA CTIA would like to take this opportunity to thank all airport staff, airport users and passengers who participated in this exercise.