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23 Best Practices for Developing and Sustaining TIRPs Whether TIRPs are developed in a traditional way by an individual or committee, with the help of the TIRP tool, by adapting a plan from another airport, or by a consultant, the same basic concerns and areas of emphasis are essential for the plans to be effective, practicable, accepted, and followed. Foremost among these concerns is the role of leadership and the extent to which stakeholders are involved in the planning process. Use of an automated tool without appropriate coordination and collaboration with stakeholders will compromise the resulting plans in many ways. Although this tool will greatly accelerate the plan-building process, it is not intended to be used to bypass necessary collaboration with stakeholders. Leadership When a terminal incident response plan is put into action, a temporary functional reorganiza- tion of at least part of the airportâs personnel can result. In many cases, personnel take on alternate or secondary jobs and responsibilities. The same sound principles of airport organization and reorganization apply to terminal incident response plans: leadership from the top, buy-in by stakeholders, and application of adaptive management (Smith and Kenville, 2013). Execution of TIRPs, whether in reality or as drills or exercises, is highly disruptive. As such, the plans must have the full backing of senior airport managers who fully understand their implications. Stakeholder Involvement It is not only terminal managers, emergency managers, and airport fire and law enforcement that need to be involved in the creation and maintenance of TIRPs. The full range of within- airport and outside response partner stakeholders should also be involved as extensively as pos- sible. In particular, local emergency management agencies and first responders who might be part of any aspect of executing the airportâs TIRP should participate in the planning effort as well as in after-action reviews and the adaptive management process. Cultivating a broader definition of stakeholder will be productive at most airports. A more expansive interpretation of the term would include vendors, concessionaires, customer service providers, contractors, and tenants. In particular, passengers and people greeting or seeing pas- sengers off should be considered stakeholders. The needs and behavior of passengers and the general public in a terminal building during an incident must be considered, either by invit- ing them to participate in the planning process or by incorporating information about their needs from other plans, government documents, or advocacy groups. Special needs for those with access and functional needs, the elderly, individuals with limited mobility, individuals with C H A P T E R 6
24 Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning cognitive difficulties, and children need to be considered. Ideally, people from these groups would be consulted about their requirements. Appendix A lists potential stakeholders in the development of an airport TIRP. Greater stakeholder involvement generally improves the initial plan, improves compliance with the plan, heightens enthusiasm for training and exercising the plan, improves the response teamsâ ability to adapt when an actual situation does not exactly fit the plan, and, most impor- tantly, improves positive outcomes in the event of a disruptive incident at a terminal. Incident Command System Structures: Sectors, Branches, and Tactical Objectives for Each The tool and the plans it will produce are predicated on the airportâs use of the Incident Com- mand System (ICS). The ICS offers a proven standardized structure for emergency and disas- ter management. It applies to all phases of emergency management: preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Organized around the functions of command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance/administration rather than around bureaucratic boundaries and routine position descriptions, the ICS follows the basic plan of organization illustrated in Figure 4. Each of the functions shown in Figure 4 will be part of a response. However, in small incidents, several functions may be combined in a single role. The ICS should always be incorporated into TIRP structures, making sure that each of the basic functions is covered at all times during a response and during recovery after an incident. The ICS may include the command staff func- tions of safety, liaison, and public information. Sometimes, the ICS may include intelligence/ investigations and day-to-day functions. National Incident Management System The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was established as the United Statesâ standard for incident management in 2003, with compliance required for all federal agencies and all entities receiving federal aid, including all Part 139 airports in the country. However, most airports did not begin serious efforts to comply with and implement the NIMS until the FAA specifically required incorporation of it into AEPs in 2009 in Advisory Circular 150/5200-31C. While the ICS is the underlying structure used in the NIMS, it is only one aspect of it. Features of the NIMS yield many beneficial approaches for handling airport terminal inci- dents. Under the NIMS, the nature of the incident drives the nature of the response, and the evolution of the size, intensity, and nature of the incident determines the scope, nature, and participants in the response. Response structure expands and contracts as necessary to manage the moment-to-moment realities of the incident. The NIMS is flexible yet reliable, and it delin- eates clear lines of control, communication, and accountability through a common formalized Figure 4. The Incident Command System.
Best Practices for Developing and Sustaining TIRPs 25 structure. The system allows for a single incident commander or for a unified command and includes effective ways to manage continuity of the response during shift changes. Since the NIMS is a national standard, it is used by nearly all first responders and local, regional, and state emergency management agencies. Employing the NIMS facilitates effective and efficient coordination for airports and their mutual aid partners (Smith, 2008, 2010a, 2010b). Application of the NIMS and the resulting internal benefits for airports are explored in more depth elsewhere (such as Smith, Waggoner, and Hall, 2007; Smith, Waggoner, Rabjohn, and Bachar, 2007, 2008a, 2008b; and Smith, 2008). Customer Service Regardless of the type of emergency situation calling for an evacuation or shelter-in-place response, the highest possible level of customer service must be maintained. As noted in ACRP Report 65: Guidebook for Airport Irregular Operations (IROPS) Contingency Planning (Nash et al., 2012, pp. 205, 222), the primary concerns for passenger support are: â¢ Water; â¢ Food; â¢ Sanitationâlavatory and hygiene; â¢ Mobility support such as wheelchairs; â¢ Medical needsâfirst aid and essential medications; â¢ Shelter from weather if evacuation is to an outdoor location; â¢ Information updates, to the greatest extent possible; and â¢ A method for providing feedback (requests, complaints, or comments) to the airport; various methods include email, airport website, mail, in-person comments to airport staff and service provider staff, and social network sites. If the evacuation is prolonged, customer support can also include: â¢ Off-airport overnight accommodation, and â¢ Transportation. By prior arrangement or default, the airport or airlines will assume responsibility for customer service in an emergency. In either case, the airport should be prepared to provide or arrange for the basic forms of passenger support listed previously. Sound customer service during an evacu- ation or shelter-in-place situation facilitates efficient repopulation and resumption of normal operations and safeguards the airportâs public image. One of the most difficult aspects of airport terminal evacuation is the unpredictability of weather. If the evacuation places people outside of the terminal, either on the landside or on the airside, every effort must be made to protect them from temperature extremes (heat or cold) and precipitation. Recent terminal evacuations have demonstrated innovative solutions to this problem. For example, San Antonio International Airport used a fleet of air-conditioned city buses to shelter passengers during its July 2012 evacuation due to a bomb threat. Other airports have used parking structures to protect evacuees. Communications Communications are essential for managing the response to any emergency in an airport terminal, but forms of communication may vary greatly depending on the extent of disruption to existing systems. Therefore, effective emergency communication plans are flexible and redun- dant. They also must incorporate different forms of media to ensure compliance with the ADA.
26 Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning To Individuals Within the Terminal The primary forms of communication within a terminal during an evacuation or shelter-in-place situation will be the public announcement system (loudspeakers), video status boards (arrivals and departures boards, gate signs, electronic signage), and warning lights or sounds. Audible announce- ments need to be supplemented and clarified by signage directing passengers and employees to evac- uation routes, rally points, and shelters. Warnings and messages displayed should be pre-scripted and possibly prerecorded to minimize errors. Careful controls should be in place to avoid accidental release of emergency announcements. Modern social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and airline smartphone notifica- tion systems can also be used to alert and direct passengers. It is important to remember that they do not have universal reach since some passengers may not possess the devices or be using them at the time. Reverse 911 and emergency notification systems can alert airport employees and tenants and provide continuing information updates. Regardless of which forms of communication are used, well-trained and highly aware airport, airline, and tenant employees play the most important role in directing the response, guiding passengers, and facilitating a calm and orderly transition. To the Public at Large Incidents at airports, especially terminal evacuations, are major news. Managers need to take advantage of the power of news outlets to communicate important information beyond the initial story. For example, the public needs to understand that access to the airport and its terminal may be temporarily blocked. Blocked access and other issues can create serious traffic and public safety implications that call for a well-thought-out public information strategy that may involve pre- scripted announcements. Such a strategy should involve key stakeholders such as airlines, local government, and local media. As with all aspects of TIRPs, dissemination of public information should be handled through the ICS and NIMS. Security General Security procedures for an evacuation that moves people from the secured area to rally points outside security will normally be governed by the airportâs ASP. To the extent that security pro- cedures are involved in the evacuation plan, the major stakeholders involved in securityâTSA, airport management, airport police, and other security or law enforcement agencies onsite at the airportâmust be involved not only in the creation of the evacuation plan but also in training, drilling, and exercising the plan. As a general practice, if a partial evacuation that does not move people out of the secured area is possible, evacuation rally points and routes to achieve that goal should be determined. Airports with International Arrivals Collaboration and authorizations between airport officials and CBP officials must take place when events affect normal operations involving international passengers or Federal Inspection Station (FIS) facilities. In many cases, CBP will have its own protocols for handling emergency or irregular operations affecting normal international flight operations. The airport should be
Best Practices for Developing and Sustaining TIRPs 27 familiar with these CBP plans and protocols. Conversely, local CBP officials need to be familiar with the airportâs TIRP. CBP and the airport should consider establishing formal agreements, identified within the TIRP, to ensure that both parties work collaboratively under a common unified command when managing impacts addressed within the TIRP. Even when formal agree- ments are not in place, continuous collaboration and consensus between the incident command and CBP must be achieved throughout all phases of an event affecting international flights. As a contingency for events that disturb normal operations of international arrivals or of an airportâs FIS areas, the airport should coordinate directly with local CBP officials to develop procedures for defining, initiating, and maintaining secondary temporary-use areas suitable for accommodating the sterile isolation of arriving international passengers. These areas and the responsible individuals should be noted within the TIRP, and airports should coordinate with their local CBP to exercise established procedures. It is possible that the specific CBP contingency plans for FIS areas will be security-sensitive information (SSI). In such a case, every effort should be made to incorporate sufficient non- SSI information into the airportâs TIRP to allow joint training, exercising, drilling, and action involving parties such as mutual aid partners who do not have SSI access. Training Training Requirements FAR 139.325 requires that airports provide emergency training for all personnel with duties and responsibilities as outlined in the AEP. Airport operators must ensure that responsible per- sonnel are familiar with their assignments and are properly trained at least once every 12 months. FAR 139.303 requires initial and recurrent annual training of appropriate personnel performing duties in compliance with the requirements of the ACM and the requirements of FAR Part 139. This training must be completed prior to the initial performance of such duties and at least once every 12 months. All FAR-required training records must be kept current and be retained for at least 24 months. Benefits of Training for the Management of Terminal Incidents Preparing and training for terminal incidents can yield tangible benefits in the form of improved outcomes, increased proficiency among airport employees, and increased confidence among all stakeholders. Better Outcomes Good evacuation, SIP, and repopulation plans combined with well-trained airport employees and tenants are expected to yield improved outcomes in the main goals of airport emergency management: â¢ Protection of life. â¢ Protection of property. â¢ Preservation of crime scene evidence. â¢ The most rapid possible resumption of normal economic activities. Increased Proficiency Among Airport Employees TIRPs contribute to the practical knowledge, skills, and abilities of airport employees by requir- ing participation in multiple functional exercises on an annual if not semiannual basis. Partici- pants need to understand why it is important to conduct routine tabletop and full-scale exercises.
28 Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning Airport emergency plan and other emergency response contingency plan training should cover plan objectives, key elements, participants and their roles, and mutual aid agreements. Basic plan training should be refined and included in new employee orientation. Airport operators should identify the work groups that require NIMS, TIRP, and contingency plan responsibility training. This training should be mandatory and scheduled as appropriate. Each group should have designated subject-matter experts. Increased Confidence Among Employees and Stakeholders Confused or uncertain personnel can compromise the effectiveness of the overall response. Well-trained, drilled, and exercised personnel will be more confident in their actions and will perform more quickly and decisively when responding to disruptive incidents. Most impor- tantly, a high level of confidence among personnel directing evacuations and shelter-in-place procedures can help reduce panic, confusion, and the resulting negative consequences. Drilling and Exercising Drilling is required by FAR 139.325 for every item listed in AEPs, including evacuations. There must be a single review, tabletop exercise, or functional exercise once every 12 months. Drilling ensures that the plan is coordinated with all appropriate agencies, that all parties under- stand and are committed to their responsibilities, and that all of the information in the plan is current. Testing TIRPs regularly allows evaluation of their effectiveness and completeness as well as updating of contact information and terminal configuration. When thrown into an emergency management situation, it is crucial that all parties be familiar with the responsibilities and capabilities of the others involved. Airport incidents often involve multiple agencies, each with their own jurisdictional authority. These authorities must be under- stood and respected by all. Regular drills and exercises help build strong relationships among all managers involved in an emergency response. NIMS and ICS principles allow for unified command processes designed to recognize the jurisdictional responsibilities of multiple agency responses to a common incident. Airports must be familiar with and practice these concepts of unified command. Drills and exercises, when properly designed and executed, can expose weaknesses in TIRPs and test perspectives, ultimately leading to more effective plans. Feedback should be gathered following every exercise. Drill and exercise results can be evaluated by participants, peer review- ers, subject-matter experts, and outside evaluators. TIRPs should incorporate feedback and be either reconfirmed or revised, as appropriate. Full-Scale Drills and Exercises A full-scale exercise for each Class I airport operator once every 36 months is required by FAR 139.325. Most larger airports typically exceed these requirements either because of internal airport policies or simply because federal agencies like CBP and TSA, as well as most airlines and mutual aid providers, have similar requirements for exercising, and, as best practice, most seek the airportâs participation. The exercising of any airport incident response plans determines whether a TIRP, post-disaster family assistance plan, or pandemic response plan can be used to meet the exercise requirements of FAR 139.325. It is recommended that the scope and scenario of the exercise be approved by the airportâs FAA compliance inspector before counting that exercise as meeting the requirements of FAR 139.325. Typically, any exercise that reviews the command and control and mutual aid provision within the AEP will be accepted as compliant.
Best Practices for Developing and Sustaining TIRPs 29 This precedent should allow TIRP and other contingency plan exercises to qualify under this requirement. It is essential that a full-scale exercise test the total response capability of an airportâs mutual aid agreements. Such an exercise should involve all responding agencies, with an emphasis on local emergency management coordination among various functions and outside response agencies. The full-scale exerciseâs scenario should be as close to a real situation as possible and use real personnel and equipment. The exercise should test all communications, coordination, and transportation systems. To the most appropriate extent possible, the exercise should also simulate high-stress situations. Given all this, it must be recognized that a full-scale exercise of a terminal evacuation or shelter-in-place situation will be highly impracticable or even impossible. However, actual evacuation or SIP events can be analyzed and used to review and revise TIRPs. Problems with Full-Scale Drills and Exercises of Evacuation and SIP The overwhelming difficulty of implementing a full-scale or even partial drill or exercise of an evacuation or SIP plan is that such events would disrupt the normal operations of the terminal, concourse, or gates involved in the drill. The exigencies of airport and airline operations, sched- ules, and economics preclude such disruptions for a drill or exercise. Since TIRPs need to outline effective approaches for handling peak-period crowds in terminals, performing the exercise or drill at a nonpeak hour or even using volunteer actors as passengers when the terminal is closed will not provide an adequate test of the TIRP. If an airport actually attempts a full-scale drill or exercise of a TIRP, the event must be closely monitored, and there should be a well-planned and coordinated drill exit strategy in place. A number of other practical problems with drilling and exercising TIRPs exist, but these can be overcome through careful planning, leadership, and discipline: â¢ Documenting and record keeping for all airport employees having responsibility within the plans could be quite difficult. These records are typically scrutinized annually during the FAA certification inspection. To ensure adequate record keeping for what could be a large number of personnel, many larger airports have shifted to a web-based interactive training and record- keeping system. â¢ Many times post-exercise action plans are not followed up. Every effort should be made to ensure that all lessons learned and any identified mitigations are incorporated into revised TIRPs and related documents and acted upon. Adaptive Management and the Continuous Improvement Cycle TIRPs are more effective when an airport aggressively uses adaptive management meth- ods (see Figure 5) and applies the continuous improvement cycle to preparedness planning (see Figure 6). For high-consequence, disruptive actions such as evacuation and sheltering in place, it is critically important to use experience in actual incidents, drills, exercises, or simu- lations to drive evaluations and, when needed, revisions of TIRPs. Monitoring professional and popular literature for incidents at other airports can also inform adaptive management processes at an airport.
30 Airport Terminal Incident Response Planning Figure 5. Adaptive management (California Department of Fish and Game, n.d.). Figure 6. Preparedness planning cycle (Federal Emergency Management AgencyâEmergency Management Institute, n.d.).