There will be a simulated plane crash at Pearson Airport in Mississauga

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Published May 27, 2023 at 10:10 am

Large plane engine

If one of the runways at Pearson Airport in Mississauga seems a bit frenzied on Saturday morning and early afternoon (May 27) with emergency sirens and hundreds of people rushing about, not to worry–it’s just a plane crash.

A fake one, of course.

Though it may appear to be a legitimate emergency, that’s the whole point.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson, is running its annual mandatory full-scale Emergency Exercise from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

This year’s scenario, says the GTAA, will involve a simulated plane crash, with approximately 400 members of the airport community, partners and volunteers playing the role of crew members and passengers.

Other responders participating in the large-scale event include Peel Regional Police and Transport Canada.

“As part of our annual commitment, we are holding a full-scale Emergency Exercise…This exercise is a requirement by Transport Canada and it’s an important way to test the airport’s emergency response,” the GTAA said in a public notice.

Pearson officials stress to the public that there is absolutely no reason for concern should they see part of the realistic drill.

The only impact to the public will be possible traffic disruptions near the airport, specifically in the area of Convair Dr. and Electra Rd., between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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 has spent much of the last year preparing for Saturday’s exercise, including lining up the hundreds of volunteers to play the roles of passengers and employees during the mock emergency session.

“Throughout the exercise, passengers and people in the airport area can expect to see volunteers, emergency vehicles, airport equipment and personnel on airport approach roads, in Terminal 1 and 3 and airside. Theatrical effects may be visible and audible,” the airport says on its website.

Participants in the annual exercise include airport employees and responders from organizations including Transport Canada, Peel police, Peel Regional Paramedic Services, Fire and Emergency Services, the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency, NAV Canada and airline representatives.

Authorized members of the public who volunteer to portray passengers, friends and family members are also included in the emergency drill.

“We run one full-scale and one tabletop exercise per year to test protocols, procedures, communications and planning for emergency and/or security-related incidents,” Pearson officials say, adding many organizations are involved in the planning and implementation of the exercises.

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