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Airport Operations 43 Emergency Training and Airport Familiarization An AEP is only as effective as it is current and rehearsed. FAR Part 139.325 requires a review of the plan every 12 months and a live exercise every 36 months that includes every agency with a responsibility in the AEP. Today, most response agencies have annual requirements to perform training, and it makes good sense to include the airport and combine efforts to save time and costs. Combining training also provides a great opportunity for multiple agencies to practice coordina- tion and learn of each other's resources and capabilities. Communication is the most significant problem encountered during emergency events. Providing a practice drill provides an excellent opportunity to research this challenge and improve shortfalls. Responding agencies should be as familiar with the plan and the airport as they are with local procedures for their city streets and facilities. Commonly, local agencies do not spend the nec- essary time to familiarize themselves with the airport's surroundings and airfield access proce- dures. Fences, locked gates, locked doors, and security regulations may pose obstacles for responding agencies unfamiliar with the airport. Airport operators must also consider inform- ing agencies of airport facility changes that could affect their response such as construction, pro- cedural changes, and seasonal operations. Aircraft Accidents and Incidents Statistics show the greatest potential for aircraft accidents occurs during the landing or depar- ture operation of the flight. A high percentage of all aircraft accidents occur on or near the airport property, but accidents may occur at any time or any place. Such unpredictable occurrences are another reason to closely coordinate efforts with agencies that have jurisdictional responsibilities for the surrounding community. The response to each aircraft accident or incident will be different because of variables such as location, aircraft type, number of people involved, type and amount of fuel or cargo on board, and weather. However, the basic response should include the same considerations. Safety for the lives of the victims and the responders is paramount throughout the response and recovery efforts. Professional responders are equipped with the resources and training to provide an efficient and safe response. The airport operator and first responders should keep the area clear of all people until it is safe to enter. Once a safe perimeter is established and rescue efforts have been completed, the aircraft and perimeter need to be protected from disturbance until necessary investigations are completed. (Investigations may be performed by the NTSB, FAA, FBI, TSA, and other state and local agencies.) It is the responsibility of the aircraft owner or operator to remove the aircraft when released by the investigating agencies. The airport owner, however, will need to oversee the coordination of such events and be prepared to possibly help with local resources. Media Relations Involving the media in the AEP and training events provides a great public relations opportu- nity to demonstrate the hard work and preparedness the airport and responding agencies develop during the AEP process. More important, involving the media in the AEP informs them how, when, and where to respond during an emergency. The airport operator should establish an area for media briefings and be prepared to provide timely and informative briefings during an event. This step makes for good public relations and demonstrates professionalism by the airport and responders. Inviting the media to the AEP reviews and live exercises also educates them about the dangers of emergency response and stresses safety procedures. Once the scene is secured, the air- port operator can coordinate times and methods to film and cover events in a safe manner.