Emergency services from the Oban area were put to the test on Saturday 29 January when they gathered at Oban airport for a training exercise.
Representatives from Strathclyde Police, NHS Highland SEPA and Argyll and Bute Council joined fire crews from the airport and nearby stations as they responded to a full scale emergency test exercise.
Teams were told a light aircraft had lost control on its approach to the airport, clipping a caravan, before crash landing on the runway. Teams attended the scene as if it were a real emergency, assessing the scene, dealing with fire, smoke and casualties (played by local actors) to make the area safe. Fire appliances, ambulances and police vehicles all attended, as they would in the event of a real accident.
Back in the terminal building more actors played the role of anxious friends and relatives, keen to hear news of those on the plane and in the caravan.
The live exercise was completed in around two hours - much faster than would be expected in a real incident. Those involved met immediately afterwards to discuss what they’d learned from the event.
Thomas Eddleston, senior airport fire officer, Oban Airport believes these exercises are essential. He explains:
“We need to test our emergency procedures regularly, as part of our license conditions from the Civil Aviation Authority, but these events have much greater value than that. It was a great opportunity for all of the agencies who would be involved in a real emergency to get together and familiarise themselves with the facilities, equipment and the procedures we’d use.
“Safety is the most important aspect at the airport and everyone using our site should be reassured that if there was a real incident then we are prepared.
“Today’s event was a great success and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I hope we never have to put our emergency training into practise. I’d also like to thank everyone who came along to take part, especially the actors, who did a great job playing casualties in the cold. ”