North Peace Regional Airport plans plane disaster Saturday

Safety and security at the North Peace Regional Airport will be put to the test in a mock emergency Saturday morning.

The airport will host a simulated plane crash for staff and first responders to test their emergency management procedures and ability to respond in the event of a catastrophic crash and injuries. Transport Canada requires the airport to host an emergency drill every four years, said Gordon Duke, managing director.

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"Obviously at an airport, the key to what we do is safety and security," Duke said. "We want to make sure if we're doing this that it encompasses all of the aspects of our plan."

Airlines, police, paramedics, firefighters, and search and rescue crews will take part in the drill, as will regulatory agencies including Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

The drill will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on airport property, a time that limits impacts to travellers and visitors, Duke said. No flights will be impacted during the drill, and the main terminal will remain open. 

While the simulation itself won't be visible from the terminal, visitors and nearby residents may see smoke and flames, as well as volunteers who have been made up to play the role of injured passengers, Duke said. Emergency response vehicles will be on site, he added.

Around 100 people are involved in the drill, which the airport began planning in January, Duke said. The simulated crash will see the airplane in two pieces thanks to the airport's access to props from the community.

"We make it as real as we can. We're very lucky that the community has really stepped up," Duke said.

"We're a small group at the airport really. Without the support of the community and the various agencies, there's no way we can pull this off."

The simulation runs Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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