Large-scale emergency drill at Brussels Airport

On Saturday 2 December 2017, Brussels Airport, together with the Province of Flemish Brabant, the fire services, the Red Cross and the federal police, held a large-scale emergency drill. This type of drill is organised every two years, as required by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and as described in the Specific Emergency Response Plan.

An arriving aircraft crashes into pier A, as a result of which passengers in the plane and the persons present in the pier had to be evacuated. This was the scenario of a large-scale emergency exercise which took place on Saturday afternoon at Brussels Airport. In this fictitious scenario, there were several victims and a number of persons, simulated by lifelike dolls, were stuck inside the aircraft. At the same time of the crash a fuel spill occurred.

During the emergency drill, the effective operation of both the internal and external procedures as well as the implementation of the (reviewed) Specific Emergency Response Plan were checked and tested. In order to make the scenario seem as real as possible, most of the actions were carried out as live simulations, with the use of a training aircraft, crash bell, sound signals, smoke, dolls and volunteer extras. The drill began at 2.05 pm on site and ended in the late afternoon. All with no impact on airport operations.

According to the first assessment, the drill ran smoothly and was well coordinated. “At the debriefing we will go over all the steps in detail, but I can already confirm that everything ran smoothly,” explained Florence Muls, spokesperson for Brussels Airport Company. “In this emergency simulation we started from a very, very serious scenario. The purpose is to allow the different stakeholders to improve their procedures where necessary.”