Smoke in the sky above Pearson Airport in Mississauga, Ontario part of training drill

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Published April 5, 2024 at 10:20 am

Fire drill at Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

Plumes of smoke will be visible in the sky above Pearson Airport in Mississauga today, but there’s no cause for alarm.

Pearson officials say there’s no real emergency at the airport — they’re just training for one.

In a post to social media Friday morning, airport officials said the fire emergency training exercise, one of several conducted throughout the year at Pearson, will continue until about 5 p.m. this afternoon.

In their post to X (formerly Twitter), airport authorities noted people may have already seen plumes of smoke in the sky this morning.

The drill is being conducted by the Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute, a private college located on Courtneypark Drive East in Mississauga, just steps from Canada’s biggest and busiest airport.

FESTI is also part of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s fire department, Pearson officials note. The GTAA operates Pearson Airport.

The emergency training organization has three fire stations and its own fire chief.

In addition to firefighting training sessions such as the one taking place today, Pearson conducts other exercises each year that include additional first responders (police and paramedics) and other partners.

Among them is a full-scale disaster training session that takes place once a year and involves hundreds of volunteers playing different roles as part of a simulated plane crash or other emergency situation requiring a wide-ranging response.

Last year’s full-scale Emergency Exercise took place in May and presented a scenario of a plane crash, with some 400 members of the airport community, partners and volunteers playing the roles of crew members and passengers.

Other responders to participate in the large-scale event included Peel Regional Police and Transport Canada.

Though the emergency exercise is entirely fake, it’s as close to real as it can be in order to provide the best possible training for all those who’d be called upon in a real emergency, the GTAA said earlier.

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