Airport in shape for emergencies
DRAMATIC scenes played out at Darwin Airport on Thursday as emergency services were put to the test.
The simulation exercise brought more than 11 agencies together to respond to a mock collision between an air force fighter jet and commercial plane on the Darwin Airport runway.
Actors and volunteers assumed roles of casualties who were strewn across the tarmac awaiting rescue or medical attention.
Within minutes, Fire and
Rescue arrived first on scene to contain the imaginary fire, followed by St John Ambulance, Airport Aviation and the Australian Air Force.
NT deputy chief fire officer Stephen Sewell said the exercise was about understanding how to work together efficiently and effectively in an emergency. “While it is unlikely an accident like this would occur … this exercise is executed down to the finest of details,” he said.
Darwin Airport Group executive general manager operations Rob Porter said the airport had co-ordinated
the exercise as part of federal airport legislation, which was undertaken every two years by all major Australian airports. “It is vitally safe the aerodrome remains safe. We have 100 per cent focus on the safety of people that come and go from this airport and it’s really important we test our plans and test our response to any kind of aviation emergency,” he said.
Mr Porter said the exercise had been more challenging to co-ordinate this year due to COVID-19. “I think we spend a lot of time on Zoom together but getting everyone out on the field and actually putting things into practice has been really important.”
The exercise was planned well ahead of Qantas’ plans to fly Darwin to London directly but Mr Porter indicated exercises such as these placed the Territory’s international airport in a good position.
“Darwin Airport is prepared for growth; we’re ready so now when people are able to freely move around the country we are good to go.”
He said the two-hour simulation had been “absolutely outstanding” and everyone was pleased with the response. “It’s about co-ordination, communication and working more closely together. We’ll learn from today as well.”
The organisations involved will review the simulation and debrief areas for improvement to ensure Darwin, and Australia, maintain their exemplary aviation record.
The exercise known as “Hornet’s Nest” will be held across two half days; on Thursday, September 30 at the RAAF side of the airport and on October 11 at the Mercure Hotel Darwin.