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Airport staff conduct fire response exercise

Staff at the Air Terminal carried out a safety training exercise yesterday during which they practised how they would evacuate passengers from a burning aeroplane.

The plane, on this occasion, was a bus, and the fire was thankfully imaginary. But the importance of the underlying reasons for the rehearsal was lost on no one.

“There are a whole range of scenarios that we practice for here,” said Chris Purkiss, Director of Civil Aviation in Gibraltar, said.

“Today we have an aircraft refuelling and unfortunately something goes wrong and we have to evacuate the plane really quickly.”

AIRPORT EXERCISE 1 WEB

“Things may escalate if the fire spreads and the bowsers catch fire and we would have to then get all the people in from the town, all the emergency services, or it may be that we can just deal with it ourselves within the terminal.”

The aim of the exercise was to familiarise staff with flight, ground crew and passenger evacuation procedures, while allowing departments and agencies an opportunity to review and update their Standard Operating Procedures in support of the Emergency Plan and to check that the procedures put in place work.

AIRPORT EXERCISE 3 WEB

The exercise was watched by the deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, who said: “The Government takes very seriously its responsibility of aviation safety and normally the air disaster exercises that tend to take place is the air crash simulation, which is led by the RAF. This exercise is led by the Government and its agencies.”

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