Okanagan Lake was the scene of an imaginary plane crash on Thursday, that saw a cross-agency response from a number of local organizations and City staff members.
The City of Vernon Airport hosted a table top emergency exercise that included collaboration with the RCMP, BC Ambulance Service, Vernon Search and Rescue, Vernon Civilian Air Search and Rescue, Vernon Fire Rescue Services, and City of Vernon staff.
“This table top exercise is a good opportunity for all the responding agencies to get together to work through the City’s Airport Emergency Response Plan,” said Ian Adkins, Supervisor of Vernon Airport. “An incident such as a plane crash could require the involvement of all these agencies.”
This year, local pilots with knowledge of aircraft types that are common at the Vernon Airport were on hand to explain how to deal with an aircraft if it should crash in water.
“These practice scenarios help familiarize all agencies with the airport protocols and they support our regulatory requirement to hold a table top exercise annually, and a major practice scenario once every four years,” said Adkins. “I think everyone comes away with a good refresher on dealing with aircraft incidents and each time we learn something new.”
For Vernon, the seasonal threats of flooding and fires are the most pressing concerns so it makes sense to plan and practice for emergencies at this time of the year.
“Conducting table top exercises provides us with an opportunity to practice executing emergency plans together,” said Vernon Fire Chief David Lind. “We build relationships with a number of agencies, identify gaps in emergency response plans and make adjustments in a safe environment. These are important tools in emergency management.”
In the event of a catastrophic air transportation incident, the City’s Emergency Management Plan would trigger an emergency alert on the City of Vernon website and out to people registered for emergency alerts via email subscription or the VernonConnect mobile app.
“As emergencies can happen any time, it’s vital that we all take steps to prepare ourselves and our families,” said Sue Saunders, Emergency Program Coordinator. “This includes planning how we will access important information during an emergency.”
To receive emergency information, visit www.vernon.ca/subscribe, enter your email address, and click the boxes for the notifications you want to receive. You can also download the City of Vernon app called VernonConnect, free of charge, which will be used to send alerts directly to you during an emergency.