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Toronto Pearson Airport is holding a large-scale explosion drill tonight. Here’s what to expect

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More than a hundred volunteers will join emergency officials at Toronto Pearson Airport on Saturday night to act out a large-scale explosion drill meant to put the airport’s emergency responses to the test.

The exercise will begin at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday in Terminal 1 and end at 3 a.m. Sunday morning – a time slot chosen to disrupt the least number of passengers possible, said Sean Davidson, a spokesperson for the airport.

“Again, this will be a mock exercise,” Davidson told CTV News Toronto. “About 100 volunteers and emergency services from across the region will test our response to an explosion. Each year we take valuable lessons away from this exercise to refine our protocols and procedures.”

While Saturday’s drill poses no threat to passengers in the airport, it will be taken very seriously, he said, and the response could appear quite realistic

“It will be acted out as if it was a real-time response, so along with airport officials, we’ll have a number of first responders participating in the exercise. These agencies come together and act out their minute-by-minute response,” Davidson said. For the exercise to feel as real as possible, some volunteers will have moulage or mock injury make-up applied.

A Toronto Pearson Fire Department truck can be seen above in a file photo provided by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

Passengers don’t need to worry about the exercise impacting their flights, as the airport does not anticipate any delays or cancellations.

“That’s why we chose to do it overnight. If people are in the terminal this evening, starting at around 7 p.m., they may see more activity as volunteers arrive.”

“Then, when the actual exercise starts at 11:30 p.m., you may see a heightened emergency response, but again, it’s all for the exercise.”

As required by the federal government, the airport holds a large-scale emergency drill annually. Last year, over 300 volunteers came together in a simulated plane crash. The year before that saw approximately 300 participants stage a protest in front of one of the terminals.

Participants take part in mock protest as part of emergency exercise at Toronto Pearson in 2022. (CNW Group/Greater Toronto Airports Authority)

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