PHOTO-REPORT: Airport Emergency Test – Explosion at a logistic center at Cologne Airport

A heavy explosion in one of the logistic centers near-by Cologne airport. 35 people in the building. Some injured, some dead. “It is a real scenario,” says Lars Drewes, head of the airport’s fire service.

In up to three – for incidents on the taxiway – or five minutes for other areas the fire service has to be on location. A mission the team accomplished for the latest emergency test.

Apart from undergoing all processes of rescuing, the test also is a test of cooperation with Cologne’s fire service, as well as other relief forces. “It is a constant dialogue we have,” says Drewes.

70, previously instructed, extras serve as victims and injured people on location. A special and newer challenge for the team: Coping with people who document the scenery with smartphones.

It does not affect our processes,” says Jürgen Arens of Cologne’s fire service. But it has an impact on the whole scenario.

After documenting the whole operation all teams involved will analyse and optimize processes. Such test are demanded by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) every two years. Further test incidents at Cologne airport included a plane’s emergency landing as well as a fire on one of the airport’s gas stations for planes.