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Major Emergency Exercise Held At London Stansted Airport

28 Oct 2011

A major training exercise to test an emergency response to a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incident has taken place at Stansted Airport – the first UK airport to undertake an exercise of this scale.

More than 200 Essex Police officers, fire and ambulance crews from across the East of England, the British Red Cross and students from Chelmsford College were involved in Exercise Orange on Wednesday, October 26.

The event was part of the Government’s national programme to prepare the UK for a CBRN incident and was the culmination of three years planning and preparation.

Adrian Battaini, Exercise Director and Stansted Airport’s Business Continuity Manager, said: “Exercise Orange gave us an excellent opportunity to continue our work with the Home Office and all the emergency services to test how we collectively respond to a rare but challenging incident.

“The exercise presented a challenge you hope you would never actually have to experience, but we can be confident we have the plans and procedures in place to deal with every and any emergency situation.”

The scenario simulated an incident on a plane flying from Dalaman in Turkey to Aberdeen which had diverted into Stansted following reports of a potentially dangerous powder being released on-board.

Essex County Fire and Rescue’s Divisional Officer, Terry Povey, said: “The exercise was extremely useful. It simulated a scenario in which a white powder had been released on a plane in flight which had then landed at Stansted.

“We worked as part of a multi-agency response to get the passengers safely off the plane, establish exactly which chemical had been released and deal appropriately with the incident.

“It tested our mass decontamination procedures as well as giving us initial preparation into how to deal with a terrorist incident at Stansted Airport.”

To minimise disruption to the airport’s normal operations, the exercise was carried out away from the main passenger terminal on a specialist training aircraft. Volunteers from the British Red Cross and students from Chelmsford College played the role of casualties on-board the plane.

London Stansted Airport Escape Lounge