Emergency responders put to the test

Castlegar airport was host to a ‘hijacking’ before the New Year commenced.

The hostages are led to the ‘plane’ during the exercise on New Year’s Eve.

Chris Stedile

 

Castlegar News

 

New Year’s Eve saw the Castlegar airport a little more packed than usual as every form of emergency response was on hand to deal with a “hijacking.”

No cause for alarm, as the hijacking was all part of a semi-planned crisis exercise meant to test the city’s emergency service. Of course the incident was planned and thought out but the timing was a surprise to almost everyone involved.

“Everyone knew it was coming,” said Fire Chief and Airport Manager, Gerry Rempel.

“We’d talked about it for a few months at safety meetings and council meetings but just not the date and time.”

Rempel explained the reasoning behind keeping the timing under wraps.

“We didn’t want people to pay for extra staff to come out. We wanted to get a realistic view of our response on a given day in the city.”

According to Rempel and Mayor Lawrence Chernoff the response was great.

The whole scenario started off with a simulated hostage taking in the hold room of the airport. Immediately, security initiated the alarm. The hostage-taker forced the passengers onto the aircraft. On take-off, the hijacker and the pilot got into a tussle and the aircraft veered off of the runway and into the nearby orchard, said Rempel.

A vehicle was used as a mock plane as to avoid any unnecessary complications.

Chernoff was quite pleased with the outcome of the exercise.

“It went great,” he said, “The only real glitch was the RCMP got an actual call during the exercise so that complicated things a bit.”

The mayor said he believes this is something that needs to be done on a regular basis and what he’d really like to see is something on a larger, community-wide scale.

“Hopefully we can do [a community wide exercise] in 2015 to really test all our services to see what we’re doing well and what needs to be improved. It’s interesting to see how things happen, because you’ve got real situations happening at the same time and it’s interesting to see how things would play out in an emergency like this.”

He added that council plans on being more involved in these types of simulations and he’s excited to continue to test the emergency services and look into ways the city can improve.

 

Just Posted

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Saving lives on grocery list for Castlegar responders on Wednesday

Crews attended local supermarkets three times during the day

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read