FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Residents who live near the North Peace Airport are being advised not to be too alarmed if they notice a large number of emergency vehicles in action this weekend.
The airport authority will conduct a full-scale emergency exercise involving a simulated aircraft crash on the airport grounds beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday. to test crisis response procedures.
YXJ’s operations team will lead the three-hour scenario and will be joined by members of the local RCMP detachment, Fort St. John Fire and Rescue Services, North Peace Search & Rescue, and airline partners in addition to dozens of volunteers.
Transport Canada regulations mandate that airports the size of North Peace Regional test their emergency management plans in a full-scale exercise every four years, with regular table-top exercises and plan review conducted annually. Saturday’s exercise is expected to last three hours, concluding at approximately 12:00 p.m.
“Live emergency exercises are an integral part of North Peace Regional’s Plan, Prepare and Practice approach to emergency management,” said the airport’s Managing Director Gordon Duke. “This multi-agency effort offers the opportunity to test the airport’s coordinated response to an issue, the results of which are reviewed and incorporated back into our emergency management plan for continuous improvement.”
Officials at YXJ said that emergency response vehicles, smoke from a simulated crash scene and volunteer actors in make-up may be visible to members of the public in the vicinity of the airport on Saturday and that they are not a cause for concern.
The airport added that flights to and from YXJ will not be impacted during the exercise.