Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) along with essential stakeholders today conducted a full scale emergency simulation exercise at O.R. Tambo International Airport. The exercise, dubbed Exercise First Aid, was aimed at improving the state of readiness of all roleplayers in terms of handling major aircraft incidents at the airport. “As a mandatory requirement in terms of Aviation Legislation, a full scale exercise has to be conducted every 2 years. The purpose is to test the response preparedness of all role players involved in an aircraft related accident/incident. Our last full scale emergency exercise titled Operation Phoenix was conducted in 2010, a few months after the successful facilitation of the FIFA Soccer World Cup. We have made some great strides since then in terms of coordinating the roles of various stakeholders,” says Unathi Batyashe-Fillis, ACSA’s Communications Manager at O.R. Tambo International.As per the South African Civil Aviation Authority legislation, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Airport has a comprehensive emergency management system in place. This system must be tested through a full-scale emergency simulation every two years. Today’s exercise involved a multi-faceted stakeholder approach including partners such as the Civil Aviation Authority, various airlines, Air Traffic and Navigation Services, Ekurhuleni Disaster Management, Ekurhuleni Emergency Services, the Provincial Ambulance Service, the South African National Police Service (SAPS), Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department, ACSA staff, members of the Airport Clergy Service, Airport Clinic, as well as an airport based cargo operator.The objective of today’s exercise was to test all roleplayers’ procedures with regards to a communicable disease and a security related scenario.The four hour long simulation took the form of a medical threat onboard an International aircraft carrying 26 passengers and 3 crew members. The aircraft was immediately contained upon landing and passengers were assessed by health authorities before they were transported to various hospitals within Ekurhuleni.A comprehensive debrief session will take place in a week’s time, where local evaluators will assess performances and report on whethersystems worked and which areas need improvement in order to strengthen the airport’s emergency response.