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6 Results from Interviews Methodology Data on existing practices regarding EWGs and alternative collaborative frameworks were col- lected through telephone interviews conducted September through December of 2018 and through a literature review. Interviewees were drawn from 25 airports, five airlines, one consultant, and the NTSB (see Appendix A). The 17 large-hub airports in the sample were selected because they were thought to have active EWGs or to be developing an EWG. The four medium-hub and four small- hub airports were selected because they were known to have a progressive approach to emergency preparedness, thus it was thought they might be aware of the EWG concept and might be con- sidering implementation of an EWG. Medium-hub and small-hub airports were included in the study to explore the applicability of the EWG concept and other collaboration approaches to them. Non-hub primary and secondary airports were not included because previous studies have shown that concepts that work for small-hub airports generally can be applied at the smaller airports. At airports with an EWG, at least one person active in the leadership of the EWG was inter- viewed. Most often, this was the airport emergency manager or the director of operations; how- ever, in some cases airline representatives were interviewed. At airports without an EWG, the interview was with the airport director, operations director, or emergency manager. The same interview script (see Appendix B) was used for all 32 interviews. The definition of an EWG and the interview questions were provided in advance of the telephone call to each interviewee. Qualitative data analysis using common theme methods was used. Drafts of the five case examples were sent to the interviewees for review and correction. Where EWGs Were Found EWGs were found at 14 of the 17 large-hub airports that were interviewed (see Appendix A). The development of the EWGs ranged from fully organized and functional organizations to just beginning organizational activities. The most fully realized EWGs were found at SFO, LAX, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), FLL, Denver International Airport (DEN), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), and Orlando International Airport (MCO). Three large-hub airports have considered EWGs and rejected the concept: BOS has a long-standing, much broader model of collaboration with its airlines, agencies, and other stakeholders; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has opted for an airport-led, airport-staffed system for immediate family assistance; and Midway International Airport (MDW) has an arrangement with its dominant airline such that an EWG is not needed. None of the four medium-hub airports has an EWG; likewise, none of the four small-hub airports has an EWG. One medium-hub airport, Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), C H A P T E R 2
Results from Interviews 7 formally considered an EWG but thus far has chosen to stay with its airport-led collaborative approach that is similar to the approach taken by BOS. The collaborative approach found at Dal- las Love Field Airport (DAL) resembles MDWâs approach, and DAL has the same dominant air- line as a highly cooperative partner. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and the four small hubs, Eastern Iowa (CID), Pensacola International (PNS), Tulsa International (TUL), and Tucson International (TUS) airports have chosen to work 1:1 with their airlines and mutual aid partners. However, seven of the medium-hub and small-hub airports stated that they anticipate considering an EWG after the publication of this synthesis. Use of âEWGâ by Airports Eight of the 14 interviewed airports use the term âemergency working group.â However, the following six airports have chosen to title their groups differently: â¢ CLT (Charlotte Douglas International Airport): station manager airport response team (SMART) â¢ IAH: emergency response group (ERG) â¢ MCO: family assistance working group (FAWG) â¢ ORD (OâHare International Airport): airline coordination group â¢ SEA (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport): port and airline stakeholder action group (PASAG) â¢ TPA (Tampa International Airport): family assistance support team (FAST) In interviews, the emergency managers from CLT, IAH, SEA, and TPA noted the potential con- fusion of using âworking groupâ for a permanent organization that was designed for more than a temporary planning function. Traditionally in emergency management, an emergency working group is formed for a specific short-term planning function. This is not an issue within airports or with airlines, but it might cause confusion on the part of community mutual aid partners. On the other hand, using âemergency working groupâ or at least linking a local group name to the EWG concept may help airlines at the corporate level understand communications from airports or station managers during the initial attempt to establish an EWG. Supporting Response The airports with EWGs emphasized that the purpose of their EWGs is to support the legis- lated airlineâs response, not to perform the mandated VSTs. When EWGs do undertake victim and family assistance roles for non-aircraft accidents, the EWG has a supporting role in the response by the airport staff. Two interviewed airports have both an EWG and an airport-community emergency response team (A-CERT) (IEM Inc. et al., 2014). Responding airports differentiate between an EWG and a CERT: an EWG is a collaborative group involving the airport, airlines, and perhaps others with the sole purpose of supporting victim and family assistance functions; a CERT is made up only of airport employees who have received special training to assist with emergency response not related to victim and family assistance. Membership and Partners All 14 EWGs have airport employees and airline representatives as members. Airport employees include one or more members of the airportâs emergency management staff and sometimes representatives from terminal operations or airside operations. Typical airline members are
8 Emergency Working Groups at Airports station managers, ramp managers, or ground service contractors. At two airports (HNL and SEA), airline corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity managers attend EWG meetings. The large-hub airports with EWGs have from seven (CLT) to 69 (LAX) separate airline opera- tors, with the median number about 24 airlines. For the airports where the EWG has been active for at least 1 year, the percentage of tenant airlines actively participating in the EWG ranges from 25% to 50%. The exception is HNL, where participation is much higher, at nearly 80%. The primary difference at HNL is that the two leading airlines there have given strong corporate management or regional management leadership to the EWG. Notably, one airlineâs corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity manager approached her counterparts at all of the airlines serving HNL to explain the EWG concept and to encourage them to urge their station managers to become involved (HNL, L. Watters interview, 9/28/18). IAH now has 70% airline participation, which is apparently attributable to having strong EWG champions from the airport and from an international airline (IAH, F. Ciaccio interview, 10/4/18). In addition to airport and airline members, some EWGs include other airport community stakeholders, agencies, mutual aid partners, hospitals, tourism organizations, and the American Red Cross. Table 1 summarizes the types of organizations participating in or observing EWGs. Airport 14 Airline 14 U.S. Customs and Border Protection 6 TSA 6 American Red Cross 4 Aircraft rescue and fire fighting 4 Concessionaires 4 Law enforcement 4 City or county emergency management agency 3 Local hospital alliance 3 Consulates 2 FBI 2 Ground handlers 2 Tourism office 2 Cargo airline 1 Cruise ship lines 1 Fixed-base operators 1 Hotels 1 Local public health agency 1 Medical examiner 1 Mobility providers 1 National Guard 1 Security contractor 1 Service providers 1 Source: Authorâs data collected from interviews conducted in 2018; for a complete list of interviewees, see Appendix A. Table 1. Types of organizations participating in EWGs.
Results from Interviews 9 The interview question that elicited this information was open ended; therefore, this data is best used as a list of candidate EWG member organizations or as an invitation list for EWG explor- atory meetings. The 14 EWGs do not have any formal agreement, such as a memorandum of agreement or contract, with an outside agency. DEN reported that its EWG is investigating a memorandum of understanding with the American Red Cross. However, several interviewees reported benefitting from standing agreements between their airports and outside agencies. In addition, as noted in Table 1, some EWGs include members of outside organizations that collaborate on EWG func- tions without having a formal agreement. Organizational Structure The EWGs can have either a formal or informal structure. A formal EWG has a chair or cochairs. Typically, a formal EWG has a written guidance and one or more functional com- mittees. An informal EWG typically lacks such structure. However, both formal and informal EWGs have an airport emergency manager to facilitate meetings and other arrangements. Of the 14 interviewed airports, six have formal EWGs, six have or are developing informal EWGs, and two have begun development of informal EWGs with the intention to transition to formal EWGs. For EWGs with a designated leader, three patterns emerged: â¢ Airport as chair â¢ Airline representative as chair â¢ Chair and cochair, with one from the airport and one from an airline, or both from airlines When an airline chairs the EWG, one airline interviewee suggested having two airlines as cochairs so that the EWG does not appear to belong to any one airline (SFO, K. White interview, 10/3/18). Several airports reported that they began their EWGs with a core group that developed local plans and procedures. The most interesting core group was found at ORD, where the EWG leadership has the following composition: â¢ Airport emergency manager â¢ The two airlines with major hubs at ORD â¢ The two next biggest (in terms of number of passengers) airlines at ORD â¢ A nonalliance airline â¢ A small airline that is a member of an alliance (ORD, T. Mahal interview, 10/1/18) An alternative approach to EWGs was reported by ATL, HNL and SEA; at these airports, a kick-off meeting open to all interested airlines and other parties was held. No matter how an EWG is developed, extensive preparatory work is required by the airportâs emergency manage- ment staff, perhaps in conjunction with operations or customer service. A fully realized EWG has one or more committees. For example, the EWG at HNL has the following committees: â¢ Airlines â¢ Agencies â¢ Communication â¢ Volunteer coordination â¢ Logistics/supply â¢ Transportation (HNL, Q. Koch interview, 9/24/18)
10 Emergency Working Groups at Airports Catalysts for EWG Formation In the interviews with the airports and the other stakeholders, airports cited several catalysts for the formation of EWGs (see Table 2). This was an open-ended interview question. SFO formed the first EWG as a result of lessons learned from the crash of Asiana Flight 214; specifically, SFOâs EWG was formed to successfully manage the large number of self-deployed volunteers that wished to help with victim and family assistance (SFO, R. Merrill interview, 9/6/18). None of the interviewed airport representatives reported that attending an annual conference was a catalyst; however, someone from all of the airports attended at least two such conferences with presentations on lessons learned from Asiana Flight 214, the EWG concept, and NTSB family assistance. Some airportsâ family assistance programs predate the crash of Asiana Flight 214. For example, in 2012 FLL began considering a program that would become its EWG (FLL, M. Nonnemacher interview, 10/3/18). Similar developments occurred at BOS, DFW, and JAX. Methods of Outreach to Airlines and Other Stakeholders In response to an open-ended question, interviewees at the 14 airports reported having used or considered using 26 different outreach methods to inform airlines about EWGs and to recruit airlines to become active in EWGs. Table 3 lists these methods. Catalyst Airport Asiana Flight 214; hearing about SFO EWG ATL, HNL, LAX, ORD, SFO, TPA Many airlines with small staffs on-site HNL, MCO, ORD, PHX, SEA Attending NTSB family assistance workshop PHX, SEA, TPA Encouragement by airline station manager(s) DEN, HNL, ORD Encouragement by airline corporate FLL, HNL, ORD emergency preparedness; business continuity Hiring of emergency manager from emergency management community CLT, IAH, ORD Gaps revealed by exercises DEN, MCO Other aircraft accident (engine fire) FLL Desire to start an airport family assistance program FLL (2012) Experiences of other airports CLT Awareness of small size of airportâs emergency management staff CLT Remoteness from airline headquarters HNL Development of relationships between airport and airlines; development of relationships among airlines LAX Figuring out emergency management challenges across partners LAX Airport reorganization MSP Applying âwhole of communityâ concept ORD Need to coordinate emergency planning ORD Source: Authorâs data collected from interviews conducted in 2018; for a complete list of interviewees, see Appendix A. Table 2. Catalysts for EWG formation.
Results from Interviews 11 In general, outreach efforts fall into two categories: presentations at regularly scheduled meet- ings of airport stakeholders (e.g., a station managersâ meeting or airport tenantsâ meeting); or 1:1 (face-to-face) conversations with key leaders from potential EWG members. The 1:1 contact may also be conducted through emailed invitations or notices. Two airports reported using exercises to communicate the existence and capabilities of EWGs, either by the airport offer- ing to participate in airline emergency exercises or by the airport inviting airlines to observe or participate in the airportâs exercises. One airport reported offering assistance to airlines during the training of their own family assistance and emergency plans. SEA reported two unique outreach methods: a brochure (see Appendix D) and a workshop facilitated by an outside consultant (SEA, B. Kyser interview, 10/31/18; SEA, S. Warner-Bean interview, 10/30/18). Of the 14 airports interviewed, SEA is the only one that used a consultant to facilitate the formation of its EWG. Other outreach methods include an open house, recruitment from the A-CERT, and recruit- ment from travelers assistance volunteers. These three methods are especially dependent on local airport circumstances. One airport, which wished to remain unidentified, is considering requiring all of its airlines to participate in the EWG. This is a reaction to a disappointingly low percentage of airlines joining the EWG. This issue is examined in greater detail later in this chapter and in Chapter 4. Method Airports Reporting Method Presentation to station managersâ meeting 10 1:1 contact with station manager 3 Airport stakeholdersâ safety meeting 3 Airport tenantsâ meeting 2 Emailed invitations and information 2 1:1 contact with other potential members 1 1:1 contact with airline safety person 1 1:1 contact with airline training person 1 Airport affairs community meeting 1 Airport offers to train airlines on family assistance and emergency plans 1 Airport participates in airline table-top exercises 1 Airport reaches out to each airline corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity manager 1 Airport senior management buy-in 1 Airport strategic leadership team meeting 1 Brochure 1 Consider requiring airlines to participate in EWG 1 Airline corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity manager reaches out to peers at other airlines 1 Station managers in EWG reach out to other station managers 1:1 1 Indoctrinate airport emergency management and operations staff members so that they can promote EWG in everyday interactions with airlines, agencies, and tenants 1 Invite airlines and other potential EWG members to attend or observe airport exercises 1 Host an open house to engage potential EWG members 1 Presentations to airport security consortium 1 A-CERT 1 Travelers assistance volunteers 1 Workshop facilitated by consultant 1 Write EWG into airport plans 1 Source: Authorâs data collected from interviews conducted in 2018; for a complete list of interviewees, see Appendix A. Table 3. Outreach methods used to encourage formation of EWGs.
12 Emergency Working Groups at Airports Types of Emergencies Envisioned to Trigger EWG Involvement The primary type of emergency envisioned to trigger EWG involvement is an aircraft accident. This is true for the 14 EWGs in this synthesis. Most of the catalysts listed earlier in Table 2 relate to victim and family assistance following an aircraft accident. Once an EWG has been established and training to support victim and family assistance has been completed, there appears to be a trend toward broadening the role of the EWG to encom- pass all hazards (e.g., active shooter, explosion, fire, or system outage) that result in injuries or deaths. Thirteen of the 14 EWGs anticipate becoming all-hazard response teams, and six of them reported having all-hazard capabilities operational (DEN, FLL, IAH, LAX, SFO, and TPA). Prior to the start of data collection, it was anticipated that diversions could trigger EWG involvement and that might make EWGs attractive to medium hubs and small hubs. However, every airport in the studyânot just the 14 with EWGsâreported that this was not the case. Diversions are not viewed as emergencies and they rarely require an airport to make arrange- ments for stranded passengers. Most diversions are âgas and go,â with the passengers never leav- ing the plane. Several airports reported that a few diversions were handled under their IROPS plan. Not one airport reported using its EWG for a diversion. Activation of EWGs When asked who can activate the EWG or how the EWG can be activated, all of the airports reported that the airport (operations director, emergency manager, or airport duty officer) and the legislated airline can request support from the EWG. In addition, some EWGs can be acti- vated, depending on the airport and the type of incident, by the EWG chair or cochair, an EWG member with the airportâs endorsement, the issuance of an Alert 3, the airport emergency opera- tions center (EOC), the airport police situation room, anyone on the EWG core team, or the incident commander. Who has the authority to activate the EWG is determined by the culture of the airport and how the airport assesses its risk. In general, the means of activation most often used is a preset notification group; however, three airports reported using e-mail notifications. Frequency of EWG Meetings Most EWGs meet often during their formation phase, which usually lasts six to 18 months. Table 4 shows the meeting frequencies reported by the surveyed airports. Several interviewees stated that EWGs would run the risk of losing the interest of members if the groups meet less Frequency Airports Reporting Frequency During Start-up Phase Airports Reporting Frequency After Start-up Phase Every week 1 0 Every two weeks/biweekly 2 0 Monthly 5 7 Quarterly 3 4 Not yet determined 2 2 Source: Authorâs data collected from interviews conducted in 2018; for a complete list of interviewees, see Appendix A. Table 4. EWG meeting frequencies.
Results from Interviews 13 than once a month. One interviewee pointed out that EWG meeting frequency does not tell the entire storyâEWG participation in training, drills, and exercises is also important (SEA, S. Warner-Bean interview, 10/30/18). In general, EWG meetings have published agendas. Meetings of formal EWGs are usually chaired by one of the chairpersons, and meetings of informally structured EWGs are led by air- port emergency managers. Most EWGs distribute minutes after the meeting, typically by e-mail. This process ensures that EWG members who could not attend the meeting are up to date with the groupâs work. Once the organizational process is complete, EWG meetings often deal with writing or review- ing family assistance plans, training plans, and exercise plans, or with the discussion of special one-time topics such as the role of local public health agencies. Planning EWGs reported doing several types of planning: organizational planning for the EWG, writing family assistance plans, designing training programs, devising exercise plans, and coor- dinating individual airline emergency plans with airportsâ emergency plans. Three airports reported using the EWG to assist with their AEP development process. The level of involvement in planning varied from airport to airport. Four airports reported that their EWGs drafted the airport family assistance plan. The 14 airports were asked if their EWGs were part of their AEP and airport security program (ASP). No airport has written its EWG directly into its AEP. Six airports referenced their EWG plans in the AEP. One airport (DEN) explained that it did not include its EWG in the AEP because the EWG is for support, not for response (DEN, A. Delventhal interview, 9/12/18). One airport is contemplating writing its EWG into its ASP; the other 13 said they definitely were not. Training An EWG needs to undergo training to successfully support victim and family assistance. The 14 airports that were interviewed reported EWG training approaches that fall into four basic types: â¢ The airport provides training to all EWG members (e.g., LAX, DEN). â¢ The EWG develops and delivers training to its members (e.g., SFO). â¢ An outside consultant develops and delivers training to EWG members (e.g., SEA). â¢ The EWG relies on each airlineâs family assistance and emergency training that is provided to its EWG members (e.g., FLL). EWGs can use one of these approaches for training or they can use a combination of these approaches. Several airports reported that their EWGs used NTSB-provided training, either through an on-site workshop or through NTSB residential courses. Usually, training is delivered in small, single-topic presentations at regular EWG meetings. Training serves to sustain the interest of EWG members, to build momentum, and to increase preparedness. Training is also important for table-top and full-scale exercises. Exercises Exercises in emergency preparedness play several important roles in the formation of EWGs. Two airports cited gaps revealed in triennial exercises as the catalyst for the formation of their EWGs. Seven airports reported using table-top, functional, or full-scale exercises to test one or
14 Emergency Working Groups at Airports more elements of using EWG volunteers to support victim and family assistance. All 14 airports stated their intention to incorporate the EWG in future exercises that involve mass casualties. As already noted, airports can invite airlines and other stakeholders to participate in or to observe airport emergency exercises as an EWG outreach method, and airlines can invite air- ports to participate in the airlinesâ exercises. Relationship of EWGs to EOC and ICS Structures Of the 14 airports, seven have a âseatâ for the EWG in the airportâs EOC, five do not have this seat, and two have not yet decided this issue. The EWG is not represented in the command post at any of the airports. At FLL, the EWG leadership sits in a separate room and connects with the airportâs EOC through the Liaison Branch (FLL, M. Nonnemacher interview, 10/3/18). Seven airports identified where their EWGs are assigned within their incident command system (ICS) structure: â¢ Resource to Operations Section (ATL) â¢ Unit in Mass Casualty and Family Assistance Group, Human Services Branch, Operations Section (DEN) â¢ Family Assistance Group in Terminal Branch of Operations Section (LAX) â¢ Logistics Section (MCO) â¢ Strategic Operations Group in Operations Section (ORD, pending) â¢ Family Assistance Branch in Strategic Operations Section (SEA; see Figure 1 for SEAâs EWG organizational chart); SEA also includes EWG members in the Additional Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and Representatives Section, which falls directly under the EOC manager â¢ Under the Family Assistance Branch in the Aviation and Infrastructure Section (see Figure 2 for TPAâs EOC organizational chart) CLT, which is in the early stages of organizing its EWG, plans to have an airport Incident Management Team as a subset of the EWG. A core group of 30â35 people with advanced ICS and NIMS training will activate the airport EOC as functional leads within the ICS structure. Challenges, Barriers, and Solutions The challenges and barriers encountered by EWGs fall into two types: (1) those encountered during the start-up of the EWG and (2) those that hamper the sustainment of an active EWG. Issues During Start-Up Phase Table 5 lists the challenges and barriers airports or their partners encounter during the start- up phase of an EWG. The table also presents solutions to overcoming these challenges as sug- gested by one or more airports. Issues Faced by Active EWGs Table 6 lists the challenges, barriers, and roadblocks encountered by mature, active EWGs. The table also presents solutions to these issues as suggested by one or more airports. None of the 14 EWGs reported having issues involving liability or reimbursementâEWG participation is voluntary and the employers of EWG members handle liability and cost issues.
Results from Interviews 15 Figure 1. SEAâs EOC organizational chart.
16 Emergency Working Groups at Airports Figure 2. TPAâs EOC organizational chart for family assistance. Issue Solution Making potential members aware of EWG and its functions Be clear about the intended purpose(s) of a proposed EWG. Use outreach methods (see those discussed earlier in Chapter 2). Invite potential members to training and to exercises. Achieving a high level of airline participation Use outreach methods described in Chapter 2; especially helpful is to have one or more airline corporate-level emergency preparedness and business continuity managers reach out to peers at other airlines. Airport emergency management or operations staff time Get senior management buy-in. Recruit airline as chair or cochair. Form EWG core group (steering committee) to help with start-up activities. Consider hiring an outside consultant to facilitate the process. Newly hired airport emergency manager Gain airport situational awareness through orientation, training, and acclimatization to airport environment. Build collaborative relationships. Getting airport senior management buy-in Prepare concise briefing materials (see SEA brochure in Appendix D). Do formal gap analysis. Table 5. Challenges and barriers during EWG start-up and solutions.
Results from Interviews 17 Issue Solution Gathering and reviewing all airlinesâ emergency plans and family assistance plans Build relationships with airline station managers in context of EWG. Build relationships with airline corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity managers. Getting smaller airlines (in terms of local presence) to understand that they can contribute to EWGs Include above-wing ground handlers in the EWG. Emphasize the usefulness of airlines and the airport being aware of other family assistance and emergency plans, including the plans of smaller airlines. Getting airline station managers to communicate EWG needs to airline headquarters Build relationships with airline station managers in context of EWGs. Build relationships with airline corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity managers. Source: Authorâs data collected from interviews conducted in 2018; for a complete list of interviewees, see Appendix A. Time/work demands on airline staff/station manager Publicize benefits of EWGs. Keep meetings and training sessions concise. Have a written agenda and stick to it. Distribute minutes of EWG meetings. Maintain EWG documents and training materials and make them accessible online. Small (or zero) staff size of some airlines at airport Schedule EWG meetings and training at convenient times (avoid flight schedule times). Allow EWG members to participate by conference call or teleconference. (Two interviewees strongly objected to this solution because it would discourage participation.) Passive involvement of some airlines Make training useful. Have realistic exercises. Use short seminar-type exercises at the start of each EWG meeting. Work with airline corporate emergency preparedness and business continuity managers. Publicize the benefits of EWGs. Stakeholders view EWG as a burdenâanother meeting to attend Include EWG in table-top, functional, and full- scale exercises. Lack of first-hand experience with an emergency requiring family assistance at the airport Read after-action reports from other airports. Attend conferences where there are presentations about EWGs. Appearance that EWG serves just one airlineâs agenda Have two airlines as cochairs. Have several airlines in the core group/steering committee. Table 5. (Continued).
18 Emergency Working Groups at Airports Issue Solution Newly hired airport emergency manager or turnover in emergency manager position Gain airport situational awareness through orientation, training, and acclimatization to airport environment. Build collaborative relationships. Maintaining high level of participation; maintaining enthusiasm; finding time Use social aspects to build relationships. Have efficient meetings at a reasonable frequency. Have effective and interesting training (e.g., bring in timely special topics such as communicable diseases). Include the EWG in exercises. Do a periodic (perhaps annual) review of EWG policies, procedures, structure, and effectiveness. Sustaining airport senior management buy-in Show results and benefits. Include the EWG in exercises. Turnover of airline and other organization staffs Repeat training topics annually. Have two or more members from each airline on the EWG. Have a succession plan. Ensure the EWG is the repository of corporate knowledge. Succession planning For a formally structured EWG, the chair from an airline should serve a 1- or 2-year term and a cochair from another airline should be in training to move up as chair. Have a strongly committed core group/steering committee. Getting good feedback (e.g., for plan reviews) Build strong relationship with station managers and other EWG members. Maintain a blame-free environment to encourage open discussion. Recognition of EWG membersâ commitment and contributions Maintain senior management buy-in from the airport, airlines, and other member organizations. Publicize EWG activities and exercise participation. Gathering and reviewing all airlinesâ emergency plans Schedule periodic reviews by or presentations to the EWG. Dealing with an overwhelming number of opportunities for EWG involvement Use the core group/steering committee to identify priorities. Give the EWG adequate structure; for example, form committees to organize new ideas for development. Keeping members engaged when EWG activations are rare or long past Give the EWG real tasksâshort of activation. Have effective and interesting training (e.g., bring in timely special topics such as communicable diseases). Include the EWG in exercises. Source: Authorâs data collected from interviews conducted in 2018; for a complete list of interviewees, see Appendix A. Table 6. Challenges and barriers faced by active EWGs and solutions.
Results from Interviews 19 Benefits of EWGs The most frequently reported benefits of EWGs are building relationships, building connec- tions, and building community; the interviewees cited many more important benefits of EWGs: â¢ Improved customer service during emergencies, with airports and airlines working together to take care of people â¢ Building capacity: â Building a partnership for assistance regardless of nature of event â Providing structure to convert airline competition into cooperation in an emergency â Developing leadership, coordination, and procedures in advance of need â Providing focused, targeted training â Increased coordination â Increased collaboration â Filling gaps â Giving the airport additional resources for day-to-day operations and for emergency situations â Serving as âfirst-responder think tank for airport-related EM issuesâ to bring ideas and issues forward (CLT, M. Tobin interview, 9/28/18) â¢ Information sharing and building trust: â Providing a forum to learn other partnersâ needs â Not being afraid to ask for assistance, help, or advice â Gaining knowledge of each otherâs capabilities and needs â Facilitating discussion of commonalities â Serving as a no-fault sounding board, a âkind of safe place where candid conversations about issues can take placeâ (LAX, B. Welch interview, 9/17/18) â Learning how airlines think about emergency management and providing the ability to deconflict their conceptions and misconceptions â¢ Improved emergency plans: â Finding best management practices in airline emergency and family assistance plans for the airport or other airlines to use â Allowing an airport to see airlinesâ emergency and family assistance plans â Allowing airlines to localize their emergency planning â¢ Improved resiliency and continuity of operations: â Protecting critical infrastructure and key resources (TransSolutions et al., 2018; FEMA- EMI, n.d.) â Minimizing the impact on airlines of an incident that disrupts the airport â Providing a âholistic opportunity to resume businessâ and to reduce the economic impact on the community (FLL, M. Nonnemacher interview, 10/3/18) â Speeding recovery, enhancing continuity of operations, and enhancing business continuity by freeing up an airportâs operational personnel to reopen the airport â¢ Fits business model of many modern airlines (i.e., having a small footprint at an airport or even having zero airline employees at an airport and using contracted ground handlers for passenger services) â¢ Increased engagement between airport operations, emergency management staff, and airlines through their participation in airline table-top exercises â¢ A more inclusive airport community â¢ Setting expectations and giving airlines âpeace of mindâ â¢ Can provide a conduit for information to pass from airline operations departments to the airport during multi-airline incidents â¢ Helps airlines learn to work well together Combined with the support of victim and family assistance, EWGs enable stakeholders to meet the goals of safety, security, compassion, customer service, regulatory compliance, and reputation.
20 Emergency Working Groups at Airports Lessons Learned The interviewees offered the following important lessons learned in addition to the specific ideas presented earlier in Chapter 2: 1. Every EWG needs a champion to sell the concept and to invigorate the groupâs development. The champion can be from the airport or from the airline. 2. Be patient. Take one piece at a time. 3. Spend the first year learning. 4. Structure is needed from the very beginning to capture and exploit good ideas. 5. Always keep in mind that relationships are the most important factor in EWG success. 6. EWGs need to break down silos; they need to get everyone together in the same room to facilitate an understanding of each otherâs roles and to break down assumptions. 7. It is beneficial for EWG members to share emergency plans and family assistance plans. 8. Local airline staff and service providers may not know their companyâs emergency and family assistance plansâthe EWG should be prepared for this situation. 9. Training on the airport family assistance plan needs to be extended beyond the EWG membership. 10. Focus on aircraft accidents first, then consider expanding the EWGâs role to be all-hazards. 11. The transition to an all-hazards EWG takes careful planning and extra effort on the part of EWG leadership and members to avoid loss of interest and focus.