Vacuum 2017 emergency exercise has accomplished all its missions


During the night of 8-9 December 2017, a full-scale exercise was held within the airport. It aimed to test the airport’s emergency plan, as well as different trades directly involved in the safety and security operations of the airport platform.

The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) requests Genève Aéroport, as part of its concession, to carry out a full-scale exercise every two years to test the various devices in case of degraded situations. This year’s exercise took place that night and aimed to test, most specifically, the areas related to infrastructure security and passengers safety. Called Vacuum 2017, it consisted of evacuating passengers from the public area to the secure area in the fastest possible manner, while respecting the safety procedures established for such situations and ensuring the safety of passengers and staff.

During this night, Terminal 1 and the tarmac of Genève Aéroport experienced intense hours. As a hundred extras, passengers of a fictional flight to Santiago de Compostela were about to pass the safety check, a fire was triggered and alarms rang in the public area of the airport. This situation has forced the security officers to arrange for the evacuation of the secure area of the terminal on the tarmac. Events then followed, one after the other, being triggered by several fires inside the buildings and on the tarmac.

The men from the Airport Fire Rescue and Rescue Service (SSLIA) were quickly dispatched to the scene and were involved in several locations simultaneously.

All the actors in this exercise, be them the collaborators of the platform or the hundreds of extras involved, have successfully completed their mission. The procedures implemented in the emergency cells for such a situation could thus be tested and verified.
The conclusions and lessons of the exercise will have to be evaluated and analysed in detail in the coming months with OFAC and Genève Aéroport.