Estevan's Fire Chief, EMO Coordinator and Airport Manager were able to observe the operations around a large scale emergency during the Regina Airport's mock scenario held earlier this week, bringing home pointers to make Estevan's airport that much safer.
"For myself, I was out on the fire ground...observing and evaluating the actual suppression operation portion of it, when you have the air crash rescue trucks come in and provide effective foam application in streams, so that way people can safely exit away from the burning fuselage of a downed plane, as well as extinguish the fire," shared Fire Chief Dale Feser.
"With that, we check to see what the response times are for the supporting Regina Fire Department, who are typically on scene within seven minutes of a reported crash. We take a look at their incident command roles and how effective they were, and provide some constructive criticism during the debriefing and hot washing process at the end of the exercise."
"It's not often you get to see that much fuel burnt off in that kind of a training area, we could only be so fortunate to have training areas like that."
In terms of participants, he noted that there were at least 53 actors playing as passengers on the 'downed' aircraft. The scene involved the response of their entire EMO team and emergency services, which included STARS as well, and EMS, RCMP, and Regina Police and Fire. The situation also had to replicate all the small details, including emergency vehicles having to be escorted across active runways.
Meanwhile, Estevan Airport Manager Richard Reetz noted that they hold their own exercise, but it's only conducted on paper, versus the full scane one in Regina held every four years.
"We attended as an observer, just to bring back key information that we could apply to the Estevan Airport, and hopefully make our system work even smoother in the future. We were just watching their policies, how their emergency operations center works, the response times of the different agencies at the Regina Airport, just seeing how they work together as a team, and any ideas that would help our team work more effectively."
"It was a lot of fun to see the departments work together and see the coordination.The debriefing afterwards was also very interesting to watch, and see how they come up with solutions to the various challenges. It doesn't always go perfectly, even in practice. You see where your weak spots are, and you are able to improve on them," he added.