Simulated plane crash a test of local emergency readiness
The plane crash that brought approximately 100 personnel to Safety-Kleen in Breslau wasn’t real – but they treated it as if it was.
Police, firefighters and paramedics were all involved in Thursday’s simulation, as well as personnel from Safety-Kleen and the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
“We had a lot of players,” said Dale Martin, Woolwich Township’s deputy fire chief.
The incident tested the emergency response to a passenger plane crashing at Safety-Kleen.
None of the passengers aboard the hypothetical plane survived the hypothetical crash, Martin said, but emergency crews were able to rescue a number of Safety-Kleen workers who may have otherwise died.
“There are always things to learn, and we did learn a great deal, but I think today was an excellent display of how we all work together,” said airport general manager Chris Wood.
“Today proved that we’re ready to go if there’s an incident.”
Breslau’s new emergency siren also sounded – although the follow-up phone call informed residents that it was only a drill and there was no real emergency.
For some, the drill may have been a reminder of a tragic incident which occurred not that far from Safety-Kleen.
In November 2011, pilot Tiffany Hanna was killed and a student pilot injured when their helicopter crashed into a drainage swamp on airport property.
Seven recommendations were issued in the wake of that incident.
Some of them had to do with emergency dispatch services; some others with the airport’s role in emergencies.
One recommendation was to give every building on the airport grounds a public address – the lack of which was found to have increased confusion on the day of the helicopter crash.
“Part of the challenge was ‘Where do we go?’ There were no street names or addresses,” Martin said.