Ensuring the safety and security of those at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and in the surrounding community, is always a top priority. We have an extensive emergency response program in place and all emergency prevention and response protocols and procedures at our airport meet or exceed Transport Canada regulatory requirements.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Emergency Response Centre and Fire Department
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has a fully equipped, on-island fire hall and emergency response centre, staffed by more than double the number of emergency personnel required by Transport Canada, with state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles including ARFF (Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting) trucks, a mid-size pumper and a Fire Command vehicle. This is in addition to Toronto Fire Service which has stations on Toronto Island and just to the east on Queens Quay.
Ongoing Emergency Training
The airport’s fire department does regular internal and external emergency services training throughout the year, including a full-scale simulation every two years, with a full simulation table-top exercise in intervening years. These exercises test our airport’s protocols, procedures, communications and planning for emergency and security-related incidents, and ensure that our airport is ready to respond to any situation. All of our emergency response partners, including Toronto Fire, Toronto Police Services and Toronto EMS, as well as staff and officials from the various security agencies and airlines that operate out of the airport, participate in the training to ensure a fully coordinated response to any situation.
Ice and Cold Water Rescue Training
Given the airport’s proximity to the water, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Fire Department, Toronto Fire Services and the Toronto Police Services Marine Unit also go above and beyond the safety measures required of us by holding joint ice and cold water rescue training to practice water-specific rescue operations. During this training, specialized safety equipment is utilized and trained with to ensure we are ready to respond in any situation.
Emergency Access to Airport
In addition to having an emergency response centre and full crew at the airport, Toronto’s emergency responders have the ability to access our airport within minutes by water, through the Toronto Marine Unit’s watercraft, and by our ferry, which would be made solely available to emergency response vehicles in the event of an emergency. Our ferry service includes the airport’s main ferry, the Marilyn Bell, which can carry up to 200 passengers, crew and up to 15 vehicles at one time, and the David Hornell back-up ferry. The pedestrian tunnel also provides a reliable and fixed link that emergency crews can use to access the island.
An additional fire hall, police station and paramedic unit are also located within one kilometre of our airport. Toronto Police Service have a special ice boat to quickly access the airport and harbour areas during the winter months, if required. Ornge paramedics and helicopters are also permanently based at the airport and provide yet an additional level of expertise and equipment, should the need arise.