Large-scale emergency exercise at Brussels Airport


Brussels Airport has held a large-scale emergency exercise. The exercise was overseen by the Governor of the Province of Flemish Brabant and is part of the provincial disaster plan. It meets the safety requirements of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which every international European airport must comply with. Some 450 people participated in this exercise.  Every two years, Brussels Airport organises a large-scale emergency exercise to test emergency and safety procedures in a realistic setting. This year, this disaster exercise was held on Saturday 18 November and was organised by Brussels Airport in cooperation with all external intervention services, including fire brigades, medical intervention services, the Federal Police, Defence, the local authorities concerned, and the federal emergency planning department of the governor of Flemish Brabant. During this emergency exercise the effective operation of internal and external procedures was tested, and the implementation of the new Special Emergency and Intervention Plan (SEIP). This exercise is part of the EASA-certification of the airport, which every international European airport has to comply with. The overall scenario for the exercise was determined in consultation with the federal emergency planning department of Flemish Brabant, the emergency services and external partners involved. To make this scenario as realistic as possible, most actions were simulated live using a training aircraft and helicopter wreckage, among others. The exercise simulated the collision between a military helicopter and a taxiing aircraft. In this fictitious crash, there were a lot of injuries and, unfortunately, deaths. The provincial emergency and intervention plan was therefore activated and extensively tested thanks to this scenario. The emergency exercise, which lasted about 6 hours, went smoothly and did not impact the operational activities of the airport. The exercise concluded with a debriefing of all participating parties to give all involved the opportunity to evaluate their working methods and incorporate the experience of this field test into their procedures.