Grand Case Airport practises emergency evacuation drill

Grand Case Airport practises  emergency evacuation drill

Firemen carry a victim out of the airport terminal. (Robert Luckock photos)

GRAND CASE--Grand Case Airport practised an emergency evacuation of passengers on Wednesday morning involving around twenty of the airport’s staff, security personnel and firefighters, and firemen from the main station in La Savane.

The scenario simulated an accidental chemical spill outside a boarding gate from the departure lounge. Fifteen passengers, mostly students, were in the departure lounge waiting to board the fictional Air Toxica flight 111.

Security and border police officers from Police au Frontières (PAF) were on duty. A 4X4 from the airport’s technical services was transporting a container of sulphuric acid that fell from the vehicle and spilled onto the ground outside the boarding gate.

The objective was to put into practice the first aid and fire evacuation procedures that airport staff learn during their training. The exercise lasted for around two hours and was attended by all those involved in safety, emergency and security. The aim was to test the reaction of those involved in a real situation of this kind, as well as the passengers.

Such evacuation exercises allow employees and passengers to familiarise themselves with emergency procedures, evacuation routes and assembly points, so that in the event of a real emergency they will react correctly.

Fumes from the acid engulfed the departure lounge. Sulphuric acid is a toxic, dangerous product that produces smoke which causes severe nose and throat irritation and can be fatal. Symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pressure.

The airport’s fire department hosed away the chemical spill with water while other firemen evacuated victims from the departure lounge, carrying them outside the building to administer first aid. Among the victims was one found unconscious and another who suffered cardiac arrest.

The last time a major exercise of this nature took place at the airport was in 2015.

“I considered the exercise a success, but of course we have some improvements to make in all the different services, in terms of administering first aid, the role of the personnel, as well as improving coordination and communication,” said Quality and Sustainable Development Manager Sabrina Charville, who was monitoring the exercise for the airport management company EDEIS. She said more exercises will take place in the future to test responses to emergencies.


The pompiers attend to a victim.


The airport’s firemen hose away the chemical spill.


The scene outside the airport terminal building.

The Daily Herald

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