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1 All 14 CFR Part 139âcertificated airports in the United States must be prepared to address multiple hazards that may affect their facilities, operations, personnel, and passengers. The foun- dation of that preparedness is an airport emergency plan (AEP), which is complemented by other measures, programs, and activities. Exercises are an essential component of preparedness for emergencies and disasters. Through well-developed and well-evaluated exercises, organiza- tions are able to assess the readiness of plans, policies, procedures, systems, and resources for a variety of disasters they may face. The standard of practice for public safety exercises is Homeland Security Exercise and Evalu- ation Program (HSEEP). HSEEP provides a set of guiding principles for exercise programs and a common approach to exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evalu- ation, and improvement planning. HSEEP is derived from decades of best practices in public safety and military exercises. While HSEEP guidelines and training in their application are freely available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the design, conduct, and evaluation of quality exercises require experienced personnel and significant time available for these functions, which many airports do not have. This severely limits the accessibility of valu- able exercises to many airports around the nation. The Transportation Emergency Response Application (TERA) is a specific adaptation of the Emergency Management Staff Trainer (EMST), a system developed by Engineering and Com- puter Simulations, Inc. under contract with the Transportation Research Board. TERA provides an interactive exercise experience with integrated audio, video, telephone, radio, and email fea- tures. Airport emergency operations center (EOC) exercises, developed under a previous ACRP project, were imported into TERA. The report is the product of ACRP Project 04-04B, the over- all goal of which was to validate these exercises. Key Findings While there were a number of findings directly related to the goal of this project, there were others related to future implementations of TERA exercises across the airport community. Over- all, these pre-developed TERA exercises are an effective resource for airports seeking to conduct EOC exercises with minimal investment; however, there are several important qualifications: â¢ The exercises are developed to be applicable, with minimal customization, to most airports in most areas of the nation. To accommodate this flexibility, certain details in the exercises are intentionally vague. Therefore, exercise controllers may need to provide clarifications to players. â¢ Some airports, particularly those owned by local or state governments or authorities, may receive federal preparedness funds, which typically require exercises to be conducted in accordance with the HSEEP methodology. This report includes customizable documents, Introduction
2 Transportation Emergency Response Application (TERA) Support Materials for Airport EOC Exercises such as an exercise plan and exercise evaluation guides, to assist airport personnel with pro- viding HSEEP-consistent exercises. â¢ TERA exercises require designers to pre-identify player roles for the assignment of injects; therefore, an organization model that is likely to be used by most airport EOCs had to be adopted. These exercises utilize an organizational format consistent with the National Inci- dent Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS). Airports that do not use a NIMS ICS-based, or similar, organizational model in their EOC may find difficulty in the application of these exercises. â¢ Airport personnel will require training in the setup, conduct, and evaluation of TERA exer- cises. Even if airport personnel are familiar with the conduct and evaluation of traditional exercises via HSEEP, the technical aspects of setting up and conducting an exercise in TERA requires training to help ensure a smoothly and efficiently run exercise. The Controller/ Facilitator Handbook developed under this project provides a more comprehensive tool than the TERA Trainerâs Guide available on the TERA website. Also, because some personnel may not have HSEEP training, the Evaluator Handbook, which complements the aforemen- tioned exercise evaluation guides, was developed and is provided in this report. â¢ TERA has the ability to facilitate team-based exercises as well as individual exercises. The exer- cises finalized under this project are ideal for team-based functional EOC exercises. Informa- tion from the scenarios can also be extrapolated by airport personnel to be used as the basis for effective tabletop exercises. However, the individual exercises in TERA, when not cus- tomized to a specific airport and that airportâs plan, lack both context and a proper feedback mechanism to make the activity meaningful for the participant. The exercises, as designed in TERA, are not recommended for individual application. â¢ The enhanced threat of an active shooter and/or complex coordinated attack on the grounds of an airport indicates a need for an active-shooter/complex-coordinated-attack scenario to be included in the TERA airport exercise series. As the scope of this project focused only on Part 139 required scenarios, this is not an exercise that was developed, but is highly recommended. â¢ The use of TERA exercises by general aviation (GA) airports is cautioned against. While the scenarios were developed for the broadest applicability possible covering a range of sizes and capabilities of certificated airports, the fewer capabilities and resources of GA airports stretch the foundational assumptions of the exercise scenarios, which may be enough to negate the effectiveness of them for GA airports. The leadership of individual GA airports should assess the viability of each scenario for themselves. â¢ Players overwhelmingly liked TERA as an exercise facilitation tool. The multi-media content brings realism to the exercises, and it is a means of providing a valuable exercise experience with less commitment than a traditional functional exercise, which requires extensive plan- ning and design time, and a number of individuals to staff a simulation cell. However, the exercises included in this TERA airport series should not be considered a replacement for an exercise designed for a specific airport and to test capabilities and plan elements of that airport. Exercise Support Materials Certain documents that are standardized in HSEEP must be developed for exercises that are to be conducted through TERA, especially if state or federal grant funding programs require it. The rest of this report consists of templates for the Exercise Plan, Exercise Player Briefing, Controller/ Facilitator Handbook, and Evaluator Handbook with exercise evaluation guides. The files for these customizable documents are available on the TRB website (www.trb.org) by searching for âACRP Research Report 187.â
Introduction 3 These documents provide relevant information for exercise participants and exercise man- agement staff. The Controller/Facilitator and Evaluator Handbooks were developed based on standards of practice in HSEEP, subject-matter expert experience, and TERA documentation provided by Engineering and Computer Simulations, Inc. These handbooks can support air- port staff in their roles as facilitators and evaluators for exercises, but training is also highly recommended.