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First responders tested in Brac exercise

| 08/12/2016 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life

Emergency responders attend to ‘victims’

(CNS Local Life): Emergency responders took part in a full-scale exercise staged at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport last month. The exercise, called “Operation Wet Deal” and held 30 November, involved the mock crash of a commercial plane following a bird strike. The scenario was that both engines were affected, which caused the aircraft to dive into the coastline and one of its engines to explode on impact.

The main objective was to test the ability of the airport staff and emergency response agencies as they worked together to form an organised response to save lives.

Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) chief safety officer Andrew McLaughlin explained the importance of the exercise. “Living on an island surrounded by water presents its own challenges for aviation, at the top of the list is the possibility of an aircraft accident in the water,” he said.

“For this reason the Airports Authority emergency planning committee wanted to do something different with this exercise, and added an element of a partial crash in the water to further complicate the accident scenario. I am very pleased with the way everything turned out and I believe a lot of important lessons were learned.”

He added that the CIAA had to call on a local company for assistance with the “normal assets required for a water response” and Brac business Reef Divers stepped in to help with the water-rescue part of the exercise.

“It was very reassuring to see the Reef Divers boat attend the scene of the accident and provide search-and-rescue services side by side with the Fire Service,” McLaughlin said. “These type of exercises are extremely important in maintaining our international airport certification and could not happen without the help of the adjoining community at the airport.”

He also thanked the beachfront property owners who allowed use of their land as well as government and non-governmental agencies and local volunteers, including students from Layman E. Scott High School.

In addition to the CIAA, agencies involved in the emergency exercise comprised the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Sister Islands Emergency Committee, Department of Immigration, Emergency Medical Services, Cayman Islands Red Cross, Port Authority of the Cayman Islands, Cayman Airways and the Health Services Authority.

The CIAA organises full-scale emergency exercises in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac every two years as part of international requirements.

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Category: Airport, Fire Service, Police

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