Airport acts out emergency

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
Bloodied volunteers brought colour to a Port Hedland International Airport emergency responder exercise.
Camera IconBloodied volunteers brought colour to a Port Hedland International Airport emergency responder exercise.

A group of community volunteers recently gave up their time to participate in a realistic exercise at Port Hedland International Airport aimed at testing the capabilities of emergency responders.

The airport conducts the exercise every two years to ensure emergency response and recovery agencies in Port Hedland are aware of the procedures in the PHIA Airport Emergency Plan.

Hot weather conditions were no deterrent for the volunteers, who arrived at 7am on Saturday, September 16, for the activity which took them through to the afternoon.

A moulage make-up artist from Perth spent more than two hours creating realistic cuts and bloody contusions for the role-play exercise.

PHIA general manager Rod Evans said the airport was grateful for the time and effort the volunteers contributed to the exercise, which had been successful due to all the relevant agencies.

“The activity would not work without volunteers, both those who act as pretend passengers on the aircraft incidents, and also volunteers for emergency services,” he said.

“A lot of these organisations work together with road instances and other instances but this is a mass causality exercise in (an) airport environment. It’s a way of testing calls control, co-ordination, and command.”

The exercise involved WA Police, Royal Australian Air Force, Town of Port Hedland representatives, St John Ambulance and local community volunteers.

To become familiar with the airport environment, volunteers were given a tour of the airport operations and had the opportunity to get up close to aircraft landing and take-off areas.

It is a Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirement PHIA must conduct the exercise to ensure emergency and response agencies are aware of the details outline in the airport’s emergency plan.

A report will be prepared in the coming week which includes input of the agencies to identify any updates to the emergency plan.

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