Emergency drill: Explosion destroys tower of Graz Airport!
The airport is rehearsing for the emergency. The exercise scenario is a relatively unusual one and requires special tools: People have been injured by an explosion in the tower, some are severely, some mildly injured and they must be evacuated by helicopter and an extension mast platform, while the seats of fire need to be brought under control at the same time.
This is a mission demanding precision, courage and teamwork from all the people involved!
1. The scenario
In the course of maintenance work, a fire breaks out on the 9th floor of the tower and causes an explosion. Seven maintenance service company employees are injured; some of them sustain severe injuries.
Further to this, the disastrous force of the explosion destroys the flight station. One of the air-traffic controllers is severely injured, four others are lightly injured.
The ceiling collapses making access to the staircase and up to the flight station impossible. The injured air-traffic controllers must be urgently evacuated by helicopter using the extension rescue ladder.
The smoke in the staircase is dense because of the developing blaze. The fire service emergency team all need to wear respirator masks to both fight the fire and evacuate the injured staff of the maintenance company.
Building façade sections have collapsed on the south face of the structure due to the force of the explosion and chunks of the façade crash down on three cars leaving the premises. Six people are trapped in their cars and cannot get out. One of the three cars bursts into flames.
“This emergency exercise drill is a very special challenge for everybody involved”, says Mag. Gerhard Widmann, CEO of Graz Airport. “Rescuing injured people from the ninth or tenth floor by helicopter and extension mast platform – and all that while wearing heavy gear and breathing masks – not only requires enormous expertise, but also the highest in physical abilities and enormous courage!”
2. Sketch of the drill situation:
see picture on top
Given the scenario and the expected course of the drill “Echo 2”, the following emergency organisations and services will be involved:
• Regional alarm centre for Styria
• Radio Control Station “Florian Graz Umgebung”
• Graz Fire Department
• Feldkirchen Fire Department
• Kalsdorf Fire Department
• Seiersberg Fire Department
• Wagnitz Fire Department
• Werndorf Fire Department
• Emergency physician centre of Graz Hospital West / Emergency Hospital
• Austrian Red Cross
• Austro Control
• Border police Graz Airport
• Ministry of the Interior’s flight operations hub
• Graz Airport Fire Services
• Graz Airport First-aid Centre
• Air field management
• Graz Airport operations office
• Emergency centre/ Call centre
Emergency exercise drills must be carried out at regular intervals under the provisions of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and the ZNV (Regulation on Civil Aviation Incident and Emergency Measures).
These drills are intended to see how communication and cooperation between the airport and external emergency services work in practice. The resulting findings and conclusions of all the participants involved are vital parameters for life-saving success in dealing with real emergencies.
Any deficiency or fault encountered during a drill – be it with regard to organisation, cooperation, communication or time management – can save lives in a real emergency.