National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning (2014)

Chapter: Chapter 4 - Key Parameters

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Key Parameters." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22333.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Key Parameters." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22333.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Key Parameters." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22333.
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15 Key Parameters Four key parameters determine the specific details of evacuation, shelter-in-place, and repopulation plans: urgency, scope, duration, and available resources. To a great extent, the nature of these parameters is dictated by the priorities of emergency management: • Firstly, protect life. • Secondly, protect property. • Thirdly, protect a crime scene. • Lastly, ensure continuity of business and continuity of operations. Urgency The urgency parameter encompasses three major elements: magnitude of threat to life, amount of prior notice, and economic concerns. The greater the magnitude of threat to life, the more urgent the response must be. At the same time, response actions must not increase risks to people in the name of urgency. In cases where priorities must be set for competing actions and resources, measures to remove or reduce threat to life always take highest priority. Incidents are classified as “notice” and “no notice.” For example, a notice incident is a hur- ricane for which there may be a general warning of 7 days, a specific warning of 3 days, and a precise warning of 24 hours. A no-notice incident would be an earthquake, for which there is currently no prior warning. Other types of incidents fall in between these extremes. For example, using current technology, a 15-minute warning is typical for tornadoes. Some incidents, such as an aircraft accident or a sick passenger, come with anywhere from hours of notice to zero notice. Special events, since they are scheduled, all fall into the notice incidents category. Economic concerns such as the need to restore normal operations and minimize operational and commercial disruption also affect the urgency parameter. No airport is an island; every airport is part of a regional, national, and international network. Disruptions at one airport or even one termi- nal in a multi-terminal airport usually have ripple effects throughout the air transportation system. Scope The two main elements of the scope parameter are the number of people involved and the space. Any effective plan for responding to an incident in a terminal must take into consider- ation the number of passengers, employees, and other persons involved or potentially involved. The plan, therefore, must be interactive with the operational tempo of the airport, the number C H A P T E R 4

16 Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning of passengers, and the number of employees. The plan may also need to address the number of greeters and family members, but as already noted, this is usually dealt with in the AEP or in the family assistance plan. Modern security measures severely restrict the areas of terminals accessible to non-passengers and non-employees. Space as an element of the scope parameter encompasses several aspects. The size of the entire terminal or concourse needs to be considered, as does the balance between its landside and airside areas. Beyond the total area of the terminal, scope involves how much of the terminal is involved in a given incident and how much of and which specific places in the terminal are available for safe evacuation or shelter-in-place destinations. Scope may also extend beyond the terminal and even beyond the boundaries of the airport. For example, a terminal evacuation for an electrical outage could put passengers and employees on a public street. This aspect of scope is not incorporated into the TIRP tool. All plans for responses to incidents in terminals must be flexible and adaptable regarding the number of people and the dimensions of the space. In addition, such plans must have tiered responses that account for the loss of safe evacuation or shelter-in-place areas when an incident involves parts of the terminal that had been designated for those uses. Plans must be capable of handling worst-case scenarios when the number of people at risk is highest and the areas for use to keep them safe are compromised, poorly accessible, or inaccessible. Duration The parameter of duration influences response plans in a number of ways. As always, consid- erations about protection of life, protection of property, criminal investigation, and the desire to resume commercial operations will determine duration, frequently in opposing directions. For example, efforts to restore normal operations may be stalled by the necessity of securing a crime scene. Moreover, the actual response and its component actions (e.g., engineering evaluation and the restarting of electronic systems for ticketing and security) take time. Orchestration time, an often-overlooked element, must be included in the duration of any plan. Effective TIRPs remain flexible while minimizing the cumulative totals of these influences. To decrease overall duration of response to an event, managers should consider developing dif- ferent plans for disparate parts of the terminal and for varying operational periods for incident response and recovery. The duration of the response and the disruption to terminal operations can often be reduced by temporarily relocating passenger operations to other parts of the terminal, to another termi- nal at a multi-terminal airport, to a temporary space, or even to a nearby airport. Such accom- modations are more attractive for responding to incidents that seriously damage the structure and systems of a terminal. This issue is complicated by the pressure most airports are under to remain as close to full operational capacity as possible; 80% operational is a widely accepted rule of thumb. While high utilization of terminals and gates is beneficial economically, it can drasti- cally limit alternatives for emergency planners and responders. The long-term loss of a terminal is beyond the scope of this project and falls into the area of continuity of business planning. Available Resources Many different resources within the airport may be affected during an incident within the terminal or as the result of a nonlocal incident that affects operations in the terminal. It is often difficult to determine the scope of resources needed to respond to an incident in the terminal

Key Parameters 17 since there are frequently unanticipated or poorly anticipated needs beyond basic equipment for the immediate response. For example, if a large number of people (including the workforce) will be housed in the terminal for an undetermined period, then food, water, personal hygiene packs, and restrooms will need to be available, maintained, and replenished. For airport winter closures, many airports have invested in cots, blankets, and pillows for stranded passengers and employees. Logistical coordination is necessary for stationing people and providing the needed supplies. Additional employees will be needed if people are held in the terminal or an event requires a coordinated response or evacuation. Personnel from outside the terminal (e.g., those who work on the ramp or in maintenance) should be trained in responding to differing needs during a terminal incident. More information regarding personnel and training can be found in ACRP Report 73: Airport to Airport Mutual Aid (Smith et al., 2012) and ACRP Report 95: Integrating Community Emergency Response Teams (A-CERTs) at Airports (Duncan et al., 2013) (IEM et al., 2013). Mutual aid agreements should be in place to address the need for added coordination, response, and law enforcement personnel. Mutual aid agreements can even involve off-airport sheltering and transportation. See ACRP Synthesis 45: Model Mutual Aid Agreements for Airports (Smith and Kenville, 2013) for an overview of airport mutual aid agreements. A great deal of the peer-reviewed literature references information management losses that occur when disaster strikes an organization. In the rush to plan for terminal incidents, comput- ers and storage of the company’s electronic information and history cannot be overlooked. The following are crucial resource considerations and continuity factors for restoring airport operations: • Be prepared to contact people important to the organization quickly (employees, clients, vendors, etc.). • Designate alternate space and equipment for them to do their work. • Provide duplicative sets of data held offsite for them to access and begin to work (Journal of Accountancy, 2003).

Next: Chapter 5 - Relationship of Terminal Incident Response Plans and Other Plans and Programs »
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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 112: Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning summarizes the development and use of a tool that creates and maintains integrated incident response plans that address hazards in and around airport terminals.

The Airport Terminal Incident Response Plan (TIRP) tool, available on the CD-ROM that accompanies the report, assists in the development of a response plan to help mitigate the impact of events on terminal users. In addition to the TIRP tool, the report contains a user’s guide that provides a step-by-step process of generating incident response plans.

The report also contains an output example that demonstrates completed terminal incident response plans using the TIRP tool. The CD-ROM is also available for download from TRB’s website as an ISO image. Links to the ISO image and instructions for burning a CD-ROM from an ISO image are provided below.

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CD-ROM Disclaimer - This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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