I do not feel safe at the Prince Rupert Airport.
We used to have paramedics who were also trained fire fighters on duty at the airport for emergency response to any situation. They performed regular checks to maintain a safe environment (including fire prevention), passenger security, and First Aid. They could provide CPR, oxygen, start IVs, and defibrillate, if necessary. These paramedic/fire fighters are no longer there.
Imperial Oil products are available at the airport. On site are a 75,000 litre Jet A-1 fuel tank and a 12,000 litre mobile unit for dispensing fuel. Planes loading fuel are parked within 15 meters of the building. See Prince Rupert Airport website.
After the fire truck was sold to Alberta last year and the last paramedic/fire fighter was gone, we were told that in a fire emergency, a Prince Rupert fire truck will zoom across on the ferry in good weather within 25 to 30 minutes. (Daily News, May 5, 2010). The airport manager also pointed out (to be reassuring?) that a supply of dry chemicals and foam are kept at the airport for use by fire fighters from the city.
However, he did not also explain that a city fire truck must first empty its supply of water before boarding the ferry and then must fill up with water again before the foam can be sprayed onto a fire.
And, later this year, we were informed that the airport has purchased an easy to use defibrillator with easy to read instructions.
If I suddenly collapse, while waiting for a plane, no one is there to determine whether I have had a diabetic crisis, stroke, heart attack or is a designated person to look for the defibrillator and read the instructions about its use.
We cannot relax in the knowledge that the Prince Rupert airport standards of safety meet the requirements of Transport Canada. When we make travel arrangements and think about our own needs and risks, the lack of emergency services in our remote, isolated airport must be considered. Even though bringing this to light may be “bad for business”, it is not “good for business” to keep people in the dark.
Our new city council must look at this situation and deal with it, with transparency and input from the public.