RCMP, firefighters converge at Vernon Airport for training exercise

Airport emergency practice

UPDATE: 10:35 a.m.

The City of Vernon says a convergence of first responders at Vernon Regional Airport this morning was for a training exercise.

The airport was the scene of a simulated plane crash, which saw a cross-agency response from a number of organizations.

The exercise included collaboration with RCMP, Vernon Fire Rescue Services, Aurora Aviation, and city staff.

“This full-scale exercise is a great opportunity for all the responding agencies to get together and work through the city’s airport emergency response plan,” said airport supervisor Curtis Linton.

It is a regulatory requirement to conduct a full-scale emergency scenario every four years.

“Everyone involved receives a refresher, or a new introduction to handling aircraft incidents,” said Linton. “Participants are debriefed following the practice to identify possible issues with the response and offer solutions.”

In years that a full-scale exercise is not conducted, the city still hosts an annual tabletop exercise.

“Conducting exercises like these provide us with an opportunity to practise executing emergency plans together,” said deputy fire chief Alan Hofsink. “We build relationships with a number of agencies, identify gaps in emergency response plans, and make adjustments in a safe and controlled environment. These are important tools in emergency management.”

In the event of a catastrophic incident, the city’s emergency management plan would trigger an emergency alert on the city’s website and out to people who subscribe to emergency notifications via email.

ORIGINAL: 10 a.m.

Police and firefighters have converged on the tarmac at Vernon's airport.

At least three fire units and an RCMP SUV are on the taxiway.

First responders have their attention focused on a Cessna, and it appeared there was someone in the cockpit.

At this time, it's not known what prompted the response.

Castanet has a reporter headed to the scene.

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