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‘Exercise Avalanche’ at Perth Airport tests ChemCentre’s Emergency Response team

‘Exercise Avalanche’ at Perth Airport tests ChemCentre’s Emergency Response team

Date Published: 05-Oct-18

There were dramatic scenes as teams from the Department of Fire and Emergencies Services, WA Police and other emergency services personnel were called to an ‘incident’ aboard an aircraft at Perth Airport recently.

Passengers were evacuated including some ‘casualties’, fortunately however, the ‘incident’ was all part of a routine training exercise.

ChemCentre’s team was among emergency response personnel from several agencies across WA, including the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Air Services Australia, WA Police, St John Ambulance, Australian Federal Police, Perth Airport involved in the mock exercise dubbed ‘Exercise Avalanche’, to deal with an unknown hazardous material (HAZMAT) spill on a passenger aircraft.

ChemCentre’s Emergency Response team were tasked to identify the unknown liquid.
They entered the aeroplane, wearing full personal protective equipment, including breathing apparatus and chemical splash suits and worked quickly and efficiently to sample and identify the unknown, potentially hazardous, liquid.

In less than seven minutes, the team were able identify the liquid, an important step to assist in the treatment of exposed patients.

The ChemCentre Emergency Response team is made up of highly trained staff who are ready to be respond to a HAZMAT incident, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The team’s role is to provide analysis and advice to support the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in dealing with hazardous chemical incidents. Whether it is an accidental chemical release, or a suspicious substance the team is ready to respond to any situation.

On top of continual in-house training, the ChemCentre Emergency Response team participates in several multi agency drills each year. 

“These drills ensure that staff are prepared to deal with real situations they may have to respond to. These incidents can occur at any time with pressure to provide answers as quickly as possible.”

“They also help to reinforce ties between agencies and allow members a chance to practice how they fit into a wider state response" explained ChemCentre Emergency Response Chemist, Julian Palmer.

“‘Exercise Avalanche’ highlights the importance of the State’s highly skilled agencies working together to keep the WA community safe.”

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