„Rescue TXL 2013“ - Emergency exercise at Tegel Airport

12.07.2013
An emergency exercise involving approximately 200 participants took place at Tegel Airport today, Saturday, July 13, 2013. A drill involving a fire with thick smoke was practised in the transit area of Terminal D. The purpose of the exercise was to scrutinise the emergency plan in place at Tegel Airport. The guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) require that the emergency plan be examined at intervals no greater than two years. Additionally, the interplay between all participating services must be drilled. An emergency exercise performed under conditions that are as realistic as possible enables the airport to examine how the emergency services as well as the alarm triggering sites and systems react both in general as well as to sudden changes in the situation. Involved in the drill were airport company employees, the Berlin Fire Brigade, the Berlin Police, the German Federal Police and German Air Traffic Control as well as airline staff and ground handling personnel at Tegel Airport.

The adopted scenario and drill progression

A drinks and snack vending machine in the Terminal D transit area catches fire for reasons unknown. Within a very short space of time the blaze produces a great deal of smoke. The persons in Terminal D affected by the hazard are evacuated both on the land side and air side.

The Airport Fire Brigade, alerted by one of the fire alarm system’s sensors, then informs all other control centres according to the airport emergency plan for Tegel Airport. The Airport Fire Brigade moves out and begins its rescue and fire-fighting operation.

The alerted response teams of the Berlin Fire Brigade and the rescue services arrive at the agreed assembly and pilot points. The Berlin Fire Brigade supports the Airport Fire Brigade in the rescue and fire-fighting operation. Injured persons are removed from the danger zone and put in the care of the rescue service. Uninjured evacuated persons are registered and supervised at Tegel Airport's care facilities.

Just like in a real case of emergency, the emergency control centre at Tegel Airport assisted the incident command on location. Incident command comprises a representative from each of the participating services – it facilitates the speedy and direct coordination of the subsequent steps that need to be taken.

Conclusion

It was already possible to reach an initial positive conclusion there and then directly after the drill had finished.

“Shortly after the exercise, we were already in a position to say that the primary goals of the drill had been achieved. The fire-fighting, rescue and evacuation operations as well as the escape route plan all worked well – and that is what is important,” explains Christian Leininger, head of Safety & Security at Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH.

Representatives from all the emergency services will assess the exercise in detail over the coming weeks to identify areas for potential improvement.

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