Venta Global’s innovative range of specifically produced products for directing, managing and corralling passengers during an emergency has been successfully tested at Cardiff International Airport during a major emergency exercise. Operation Hydra, held at the Airport, used a mock plane crash to fully test the Airport’s emergency services and new equipment.
Forty volunteers evacuated a Boeing 767 and were then directed to assembly points via Venta Global’s newly launched ActivSign II message system and a vehicle-mounted tannoy. The ActivSign II is a standalone, weatherproof system which is equipped with an onboard memory which allows the sign to retain up to 80 user programmed messages up to 112 characters long with either eight or 16 characters visual at one time depending on the size of the screen. At Cardiff International Airport it was quickly set up to direct people away from the aircraft and to the assembly point thereby clearing the way for the emergency services to reach the plane and any immobilised passengers.
Additional equipment used in the exercise included TriSign, a three-sided reflective assembly point sign that folds up and can be deployed in seconds and SpaceSaver Cone, a fold-flat cone that has a LED flashing and steady burn illumination that will run for 300 hours. A key component of the PEAP (Passenger Evacuation Assembly Point) was Venta UK’s Reflex Rope. A retro-reflective rope that literally lights up in headlights or torchlight, the rope features cone loops, which were combined with the TriSigns to create a passenger corralling area.
“The 40 volunteer passengers were not briefed about an assembly point and had to rely on verbal and visual instruction when leaving the aircraft”, said Ray Imperato, Senior Airport Fire Officer at Cardiff International Airport. “Venta Global’s products were used for the first time and we were more than pleased with the way they performed”.
Cardiff is the only airport in Wales offering international scheduled flights to Europe and the US. The airport is multi-purpose and versatile, being served by scheduled, low-fare and charter carriers. It also supports corporate and general aviation and has substantial maintenance facilities. Passenger numbers at have Cardiff have grown substantially in recent years and it currently handles over two million passengers a year.
Managing passengers at the scene of an aircraft incident is a situation faced by all passenger airports. Venta has worked with airports to develop and design products specifically to meet their requirements of managing passengers in the event of an evacuation. Cardiff International Airport is one of a number of airports in the UK, which have tested Venta’s products during live exercises carried out during night and day conditions.