YLW hosts multi-agency emergency training exercise

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Today, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) hosted a multi-agency training exercise simulating an aircraft crash. More than 20 agencies were involved in this mock emergency to practice major incident skills and find improvements to the agencies’ current response plans. Flights at YLW were not impacted by the exercise.

The exercise scenario involved a Q400 aircraft encountering a bird strike shortly after takeoff from YLW, requiring the aircraft to return to the airport and make an emergency landing. The fictional flight experienced significant damage to the engine and crashed upon landing at YLW.

“Simulating an emergency at the airport gives us the opportunity to test emergency response plans with business partners and the larger airport community in realistic conditions,” said Sam Samaddar, Airport Director, YLW. “We’ve had tremendous support from the community and today’s exercise demonstrates how first responders and support agencies can work together should an actual incident occur.”

The simulated aircraft wreckage was attended to by emergency responders. A triage area and family-and-friends zone was set up to simulate care and distribution of information needed during an emergency. A team of volunteers played injured victims, passengers, family members and journalists to simulate a realistic experience.

Large-scale emergency exercises are conducted every three years to test YLW’s Airport Emergency Plan, along with those of its emergency response partners. YLW tests its Emergency Management Plan regularly through live scenario training, table-top exercises and emergency simulation drills. The focus of these exercises is to demonstrate how multiple and diverse agencies can be integrated to respond quickly and effectively during a major event such as an aircraft crash.

As the 10th busiest airport in Canada, YLW’s total economic impact is 4,545 jobs and $789 million in total economic output to the province of British Columbia. Serving over 2 million passengers in 2018, YLW offers more than 70 daily non-stop commercial flights with 10 airline partners.