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Saturday 16 February 2019
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Piarco emergency drill a success

A DISASTER readiness drill yesterday morning at Piarco International Airport saw a B-777 – 300 jetliner on its way to Trinidad from London, ‘crashing’.

The two-hour long exercise, which is held every two years, saw the participation of the fire, police and ambulance services plus the air guard, sought to secure the airport facility, tend to injured personnel and remove the injured to hospital.

Corporate Communications Manager of the Airports Authority Zola Joseph said the emergency drill was an overwhelming success and praised emergency teams for the swift response time and efficiency in dealing with the ‘crash’.

“The first responding teams were the fire service with a response time of about 10 minutes, with the air guard and emergency medical teams, responding shortly after. The exercise overall was a resounding success and it shows we are capable of managing and containing a major emergency situation.” Joseph added that while the emergency drill was important to gauging the airport’s capabilities during a full scale emergency, every effort was made to avoid disrupting its functioning and avoid causing panic among travellers.

“We did not order a full evacuation of the airport for this drill. Although the exercise was necessary we did not want to stir up any kind of disturbance among our travellers or their family,” Zola said.

Zola said the Authority sought to make the simulation as realistic as possible and even recruited several airport staff to play the role of injured passengers and crew, near the loading terminal. Asked if she thought two years was frequent enough for such an exercise, Zola said this timeframe is in keeping with international standards.

While several travellers felt that while the exercise was neccessary in ensuring preparedness of authorities in an emergency situation, others thought the operation should have been better organised and more effectively notify travellers of the simulation.

A visitor said that the notification was poorly broadcasted.

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