Emergency crews hold large-scale LRT training exercise

A large-scale training exercise near one of Ottawa's future light rail stations Wednesday was needed to get first responders ready for potential disasters in the Confederation Line tunnel, the city says.

Exercise meant to get firefighters, paramedics, police ready

Paramedics, firefighters and police officers all took part in a large-scale exercise Wednesday in Ottawa to prepare them for potential accidents or disasters on the delayed Confederation Line. (CBC)

A large-scale training exercise near one of Ottawa's future light rail stations Wednesday was needed to get first responders ready for potential disasters in the Confederation Line tunnel, according to the city. 

Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency workers all took part in the exercise around Lyon station on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the city announced the Confederation Line won't open until sometime in early 2019.

Steve Cripps, the director of O-Train construction, said the city wants emergency workers to be ready should the worst happen.   

"Naturally, there is no other tunnel like this in the city. So preparing emergency responders is just part of the preparation for when the Confederation Line opens," he said.

"Access is more challenging. Moving around, you don't have the freedom that you would have out here at street level."

Queen Street was closed at 4 p.m. on Wednesday for the exercise and was expected to open around 10 p.m.  

Steve Cripps, the director of O-Train construction, said the exercise was about ensuring people are ready for a disaster. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Station ready 

Cripps said Wednesday's exercise simulated an injury on the train that also required an evacuation.

He said they were able to have a train inside Lyon station for the exercise since construction work there is largely complete.

"The guts of the station as it is today will be as it is when it is open," he said.  

Cripps also said emergency crews have performed "table-top exercises" and other simulations before — but nothing on this scale.   

"This is the biggest in field, real time, live-action exercise. After this one we will evaluate to see if there is any other training needed."

The city has also developed an app that provides first responders with detailed information about each LRT station, should an accident occur.

Part of Wednesday's exercise involves testing that app, Cripps said.

"It will give them details on the layout of the station, the access points of the station, the important rooms within the station, the tunnel ventilation," he said.