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65 Conclusions Airports across the country that are required to maintain an AEP have developed numerous methods for meeting this requirement. They have learned lessons and established successful practices to ensure compliance and readiness of their airport. The AEP may not be an easy document to update, train and exercise stakeholders on, and keep actionableâunless those responsible for the AEP maintain practices that ensure the AEP best supports the airport and its community of stakeholders. What is clear is that those who are responsible for the AEP, and who informed this synthesis, have made significant strides and enacted varying AEP practices to ensure the health of the AEP and practical application during a response by the airport. Major Conclusions Analysis of the data has led to the development of the following major conclusions: 1. Many airports have opted to maintain AEPs to the regulation standard, then focus on development, training, and exercise of supplemental all-hazards plans. Traditional EM practices are being incorporated into airport programs, placing importance on gap and threat assessments, training and exercise programs, and a formal improvement planning process. 2. Airports have created innovative AEP practices to ensure the airport has relevant plans necessary to respond to and recover from threats that could affect the airport and its stakeholders. 3. Engagement of stakeholders internally and externally to the airport community is a vital component to the successful development of, update to, and implementation of the AEP and its companion plans or annexes. 4. Exercising and training on the plans are successful methods to initiate and maintain stakeholder engagement in developing and maintaining these plans. 5. Airport EMs and operators are being proactive in collaborating with stakeholders, both internally and externally to the airport. 6. Establishing an AAR and IP process helps improve the AEP and supporting documents. 7. Using innovative AEP practices such as involving SMEs, creating stakeholder books, and establishing AEP review working groups helps facilitate stakeholder engagement, under- standing of roles and responsibilities, and including expertise external to the airport. 8. The AEP in its current iteration is not as user friendly as airports want because regulations surrounding development, update, and maintenance of the AEP can be prescriptive in nature and require significant time to get approved. 9. Aligning and cross-walking the multiple plans at airports (e.g., communicable disease plans, irregular operations plans, terminal evacuation plans, and the like) or plans that could affect the airport developed by surrounding jurisdiction(s) (e.g., mass casualty plans, C H A P T E R 6
66 Practices in Airport Emergency Plans evacuation plans, severe weather plans, and the like) is valuable to ensure plans do not conflict, have duplicate information, and enhance the airportâs ability to respond to and recover from incidents and events. 10. Airports benefit from using a gap analysis or THIRA process to understand gaps in planning. Further Research The need for further research of various topics has been identified because of this synthesis. Research topics include more in-depth discussions on topics that would facilitate and improve the AEP and its processes. Further research speaks to expanding the understanding of successful practices, lessons learned, or enduring challenges. Topics suggested below also fall outside the scope of this synthesis but would prove beneficial to the airport and aviation community for further follow-up. â¢ Conducting and developing THIRAs for airports. Several airports conduct THIRAs or participate in the THIRA process with a local jurisdiction. Several airport respondents and interviewees stated they would like better guidance on performing a THIRA in the airport environment and further understand how it can complement the AEP. â¢ Collaborating, coordinating, and communicating with local and state EM agencies. To develop actionable annexes and plans to support aircraft accidents, airports discussed the need to actively engage with local and state EM agencies. Further research would identify how those relationships support the airport community, how airports go about building relationships, who they build relationships with, and why it is important to build the relationships, especially during response and recovery efforts. Furthermore, the research would help local jurisdictions understand how to respond to an airport, what to do, and how best to support them during an emergency. â¢ Identifying the types of EM training staff at airports should take (developing a training matrix for staff ). Training can include ICS, airport- or aviation-specific training, EOC training, or new training such as active shooter or terminal evacuation training. Synthesizing this data would allow airport EMs to identify various training and what staff would need it to standardize across airports. â¢ Identifying AAR processes used by airports after exercises, incidents, and events; develop- ing a process and format for airports to conduct AARs and IPs. Although HSEEP is a widely accepted format for developing AARs, many airports may use other formats. There is a need to educate airports on how to write an AAR, track improvements, and incorporate these into the AEP. â¢ Understanding the various airport EOC structures at airports. Airports may or may not have an EOC. If an airport has an EOC, the organizational structure may vary. Research sug- gests that identifying what organizational structures are used and who staffs those positions will provide value to airport EM programs.