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3 Focus on Evacuation, Shelter in Place, and Repopulation Introduction A suspicious package is reported in the terminal. A water main bursts, flooding the food court. A wide array of incidents can disturb normal airport terminal operations, and the most disrup- tive short-term incidents will involve either evacuation or sheltering-in-place (SIP) procedures. In either case, safe, orderly, well-considered repopulation of the terminal after evacuation or SIP is a major logistical and managerial challenge. This research project was initiated to create a tool to generate terminal incident response plans (TIRPs) to support airport terminal managers in carrying out effective responses to nonrou- tine incidents that disrupt normal operations in airport passenger terminals. The tool and sup- porting materials were refined via comments from airport managers during the data-collection period, results from the process mapping, and evaluation and advice provided by the expert panel that guided this project. TIRPs should be generated well in advance of possible incidents to ensure preparedness. (However, in an emergency, the tool could be run quickly to produce an incident-specific plan.) The TIRP tool automates the generation of the plan while allowing customized inputs to match specific airport terminal configurations, policies, and standard operating procedures. It is robust, flexible, and easy to use, and it provides realistic, actionable response plans. The project originally also considered three other response types: search and rescue (SAR), crime scene protection and investigation, and firefighting. During the course of the study, these response types were determined to be activities within or complications related to evacuation, SIP, and repopulation. Evacuation and Shelter in Place Once a triggering incident occurs, an authorized police or fire official or airport manager must determine whether the incident requires an evacuation or SIP. The decision to initiate an evacuation or SIP is a serious step involving serious accountability issues given the magnitude of the disruption caused by an evacuation or SIP and the consequences to public safety of not activating an evacuation or SIP in a timely and proper manner. For purposes of this study and the development of the tool, an evacuation plan or a SIP plan is activated when an authorized person orders the response. Evacuation and SIP are alike in that they both disrupt normal terminal operations such as ticketing, baggage check-in, concession operations, deplaning, and in most situations, plane boarding. Both evacuation and SIP require passengers and employees to cease their activities C H A P T E R 1
4 Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning and move from their current locations to safe and secure locations. After SIP, it may be neces- sary to evacuate passengers and possibly employees in order to carry out transition tasks before repopulation can begin. Transition from Evacuation or Shelter in Place to Repopulation After an evacuation or SIP has been accomplished and passengers and employees are safe, a number of decisions and processes must occur before reentry can begin. Safety inspections, engi- neering assessments, SAR, body recovery, restoration of electricity or other utilities, restoration of data connectivity, debris clearance, and cleaning are examples of the many types of activities that may need to occur prior to repopulation. The exact transitional activities will depend on the nature of the incident, the extent of damage to the terminal and its systems, and the physical layout of the terminal and its components. Patterns of Repopulation After the transition activities are complete, repopulation can begin. Airport senior managers reenter first, usually with security [Transportation Security Administration (TSA), law enforce- ment, airport operations personnel, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)]. After situational assessment has been completed, repair and maintenance employees enter if needed. Finally, other types of airport employees, airline employees, information technicians, customer service providers, and possibly concessionaires enter to restart systems and resume operations. Once employees are in place and their data and other systems are turned on and checked out, passengers reenter the terminal. Repopulation may occur in an entire terminal, at one or multiple concourses, or at one or several gates, depending on the scope of the original response and the configuration of the ter- minal. Flight schedules and gate layouts as well as specialized functions such as CBP shape the pattern of repopulation. Repopulation is almost always more complex than either evacuation or SIP. Both evacuation and SIP are relatively simple procedures since they both coalesce around extreme urgency and have a primary emphasis on protection of life. Repopulation is somewhat less urgent but tends to be more troublesome. Passengers should not reenter the terminals until ticketing, baggage, security, and all necessary systems are operational and staffed by appropriate personnel. It is important to note that some airports consider repopulation a reentry or resumption of normal operations function and choose to include those particular processes in their evacua- tion plans and not in a stand-alone repopulation chapter in the TIRP or the airport emergency plan (AEP).