Brussels Airport Simulates Emergency Response in Massive Exercise with 450 Participants

Monday, November 20, 2023


Brussels Airport conducted a large-scale emergency exercise overseen by the Governor of the Province of Flemish Brabant. This exercise was part of the provincial disaster plan and aimed to meet the safety requirements set by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), mandatory for all international European airports. Approximately 450 participants took part in the exercise to enhance emergency preparedness and response at Brussels Airport.

Brussels Airport conducts a comprehensive emergency exercise every two years to test emergency and safety procedures in a realistic setting. The recent exercise on November 18 was organized in collaboration with external intervention services, including fire brigades, medical intervention services, Federal Police, Defense, local authorities, and the federal emergency planning department of the governor of Flemish Brabant. This exercise is crucial for assessing and improving the airport’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities.

This emergency drill tested the new Special Emergency and Intervention Plan’s (SEIP) implementation as well as the efficiency of internal and external processes. This exercise is a requirement of the airport’s EASA certification, which all international airports in Europe must meet.

The exercise’s overall scenario was collaboratively determined with input from the federal emergency planning department of Flemish Brabant, emergency services, and external partners. The aim was to create a realistic setting, and many actions were simulated live, incorporating elements like a training aircraft and helicopter wreckage. This approach allowed participants to engage in hands-on training to enhance their response capabilities in case of a real emergency.

The simulation involved a fictional scenario of a collision between a military helicopter and a taxiing aircraft, resulting in numerous injuries and fatalities. This allowed for the activation and thorough testing of the provincial emergency and intervention plan. The exercise, spanning approximately 6 hours, was seamlessly conducted without disrupting the airport’s operational activities. A debriefing session followed, providing all participants with the opportunity to assess their methods and integrate the experience gained from the field test into their procedures.

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