Iqaluit airport emergency crews hold security drill following real fire

Iqaluit's airport emergency crews were called to action Thursday for a security drill. The exercise followed a very real emergency at the airport earlier this week.

Exercise involved actor leaving a bomb at First Air counter

Iqaluit's airport emergency crews were called into action Thursday for a security drill. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

Iqaluit's airport emergency crews were once again called into action Thursday, but this time it was for an emergency drill.

Emergency crews were called for a very real fire at the airport's new terminal over the weekend. But the call early Thursday morning was for a staged security exercise.

As part of the drill, an actor left a bag at the First Air counter, which he said contained a bomb that would go off in 30 minutes.

"I walked in the door and was just going to the back to have a cup of coffee early in the morning, and it appears to be that a passenger has dropped off a bomb at the ticket counter," said Bess Kennedy, First Air's station manager, of the exercise.

In accordance with emergency response procedures, airline staff informed airport security and RCMP of the threat 
and then helped evacuate the terminal. It took five minutes for RCMP and airport emergency to arrive on the scene and barricade the airport road.

Iqaluit's airport terminal was evacuated Thursday for a security drill. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

Airport officials say the exercise was a success but there were lessons to be learned.

"We actually discovered that there was somebody in a corner after the evacuation was done," said Kathleen Henderson, the airport's associate services director.

"One of the things we are going to do is implement additional training for evacuations and ensure that we have everyone out of the building."

The airport is required to do a live security exercise at least once every two years, though Thursday's drill was the second one in less than a year.

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