These mandatory exercises are held every year to train emergency First Responders how to respond in the case of an airport emergency.
Tabletop exercises to increase the efficiency of the emergency response to an aircraft accident were held in Wemindji, Eastmain and Waskaganish the week of January 8, 2024.
Who organized the exercises?
The annual tabletop exercises were organized and conducted by OCTANT Aviation. Transport Canada regulations require that tabletop exercises are held every year and that full-scale exercises are held every four years.
Who took part in the exercises?
All first responders:
- Airport manager and employees of the airport as they are the first to be aware of an airport emergency
- CBHSSJB clinical representatives
- Ambulance Services
- Public Safety Representatives
- Transport Canada Airport Operations Officers
- Cree Nation Community Service Directors
"The goal of the exercise is to improve both the emergency response plan and the response team, thereby strengthening everyone's knowledge and knowing how to react." – Jason Coonishish, Coordinator of Pre-Hospital and Emergency Measures
What happened at the exercises?
The facilitator of the exercise (OCTANT Aviation) presented a scenario of an aircraft accident to the group. Participants were then asked to describe what their specific response to the emergency would be, as per their role listed in the airport's Emergency Response Plan (ERP).
A discussion between all responding emergency departments was encouraged by the facilitator in order to go over the specifics for each department's role while responding to the emergency.
Why did the exercises take place?
As an emergency doesn’t happen often, first responders must be trained regularly so that they can be prepared to respond to an emergency. These emergencies can range from a simple runway excursion to a crash of a larger aircraft with deaths.
The review of the ERP also allows every department the opportunity to voice their suggestions/concerns, thus allowing for the continual improvement of the Emergency Response Plan.
Other tabletop exercises will be held next year and the two following year. The next full-scale exercises are scheduled for 2027.