Ogle Airport tests readiness to respond to emergencies
The ability of the Eugene F Correia International Airport, Ogle, East Coast Demerara, staffers and relevant stakeholders was put to the test on Friday morning when an emergency exercise was conducted at the facility where the team was exposed to responding to a firsthand mass causality incident and bomb threat.
Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Egbert Field told the media that such an exercise is supposed to be conducted at least once per year.
During the emergency exercise, the Guyana Fire Service and the Police Force were summoned and promptly responded, he said.
“I think the response time was could, could have been better. We commenced the exercise and within I think three or four minutes the Fire Service was out there so like I said we will look at the stopwatches. From my vantage point in the tower I would say that the response was in accordance with standard operating procedures,” Field explained.
Although the activity was lauded a success, the Director warned that persons must not get complacent but rather, continue to work hard to be ready to manoeuver in the event of an actual emergency.
Meanwhile, Captain Jack McGovern of Virginia, who has been participating in the exercises since 2006, pointed out that the session was intended to examine the preparedness of various departments at the airport.
According to him, “The exercise today (Friday) was meant to test many varying levels. In years past we have dealt with one specific issue, whether it be a mass causality incident, a bomb threat or a fire”.
McGovern noted that this year the airport was tested to respond to a mass causality incident and a bomb threat at the terminal building which went exceptionally well.
He said too, “I think we will come away with things that we can learn from and implement as we move forward to build a better plan to respond even better in the future”.
Participating in the emergency exercise were airport staff, the Civil Defense Commission (CDC), the Police Force, Fire Service and others.
The need for airport personnel to be attentive to their surroundings and be prepared to offer help and even exit the building in an orderly manner was highlighted only last November when an aircraft crash-landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
About 10 persons were hospitalised after the Boeing 757 aircraft crashed after it encountered hydraulic problems.