Airport Emergency essay

Airport Emergency -1


It should be noted that despite the fact that there are various airports, all of them differ in complexity because each of them has features which are unique. While some of these airports are actually small and there facilities are not complicated and therefore they are best suited towards rural settings. On the other hand, other airports are so large comprising of numerous commercial and industrial installations that serve great cities. What is common among all the airports is that they can become subject to different kinds of emergencies (Kenville &Smith, 2013).

Definition of an Airport Emergency

Airport emergencies refers to any man-made or natural instance or occasion which warrants special actions or attention in order to save lives and protect public health or property.

It can genuinely be ascertained that no particular airport in the world has enough resources that can help it to respond to all types of emergencies in an independent way. As a result, each specific airport must actually depend on the resources and support of other stakeholders within and outside the organization. It is always prudent to actually prepare for any form of emergencies which will face airports so that they can be able to deal with them effectively and efficiently. However, it should be noted that despite the fact that not all contingencies are actually anticipated and thus prepared for, an effective Airport emergency Plan is capable of reducing the negative effect of such incidents and accidents in the airport.

It will be important to note that the guidelines and recommendations in this paper are based on the 14CFR section 139.325 and AC 150/5200-13A and therefore it is not bound to be all that inclusive. The major aim of this paper is therefore to present some form of direction and avail some form of template in the preparation of an Airport Emergency plan for both small and medium sized airports. It is prudent to note that the contents of an AEP should be known and actually be practiced by all the stakeholders incase in case an emergency occur. That apart, each individual who is involved in the emergency plan should also have an emergency plan and the contact numbers of the person in the emergency plan. It is indeed advisable that a well laminated card comprising of the contact numbers be kept in order to allow easy and quick retrieval of vital information during emergencies (Wright & Ashford, 2011).

The Purpose of an Airport Emergency Plan

The major aim of an Airport Emergency Plan is to facilitate for an appropriate and timely response towards emergencies that happen in or outside the vicinity of the airport. It therefore gives the relevant assistance and reduces further damage and injury to both people as well as property involved in the emergency incidents or accidents in the facility. Some of the responsibilities for different stakeholders are stipulated as below

General Organization and Assignment of Responsibilities

The Aircraft Operator or Carrier

Coordination of accommodations, transportations and other vital arrangements for the passengers who have been injured.
Provision of complete details or information regarding the aircraft as needed like for instance the number of passengers who were on board, the dangerous goods that were aboard the aircraft and the fuel.

Coordination and organization in the use of supplies and the related personnel for all the emergences that may happen at the airport.

The Airport Management/Authority

  • Tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the all the recovery and response operations when needed at is the General Commander of the scene incident.
  • Develop, promulgate, maintain, coordinate and implement the Airport’s Emergency Plan.
  • Can close the operations of the airport and release important information regarding the safety of the airport users. 

The Airport Tenants

The Airport Tenants are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that there is proper coordination in the use of available supplies as well as equipments. They are also tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the proper use of manpower and have first hand information regarding the airport, airport and other relevant knowledge (Nelson & Ferguson, 2013).

The Communications Services

  • Identification and designation of both public and private service personnel, agencies, facilities and equipment which can be utilized in order to augment the communication capabilities of the airport.
  • Identification of both repair availability and capability under the emergency circumstances or conditions.
  • Development and coordination of communication protocols which may include frequency utilizations which can be used during emergency times. 

Emergency Medical Services

They are tasked with the responsibility of providing medical services to people in the airport during emergency situations which include stabilization of the affected people, triage, and transportation of the injured people and provision of first aid.

The Federal Aviation Administration

It certifies and monitors all the aviation industry’s procedures and practices and also provides the necessary investigation services.

Local or State Environmental Agency

It provides recovery and response assistance for environmental and other types of materials as stipulated in the Statute.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

It deals with the investigation of any suspected or alleged activities which may involve or comprise of the Federal Criminal Offenses and is in command of some specific hijack as well as other criminal acts or incidences.

The Emergency Management Agencies

It deals with the coordination of the local Emergency Operations Plans with the AEP and it also considers the role that an airport may have in the support of either regional or State defence or the disaster/emergence response plans.

Government Authorities

They deal with the investigation of post-accidents, bomb threats, unlawful or illegal seizure of aircrafts and bombings that fall under their areas of jurisdiction apart from that of the airport authority.

Fire fighting and Aircraft Rescue Departments

It deals with the management and directing of the rescue and fire fighting operations in the airport.

The “Hazardous Materials” Response Team

It deals with the response and recovery assistance for the hazardous materials as defined with the States.

Medical and Health Departments

It is tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the general planning, recovery efforts and response with the relevant stakeholders like for instance the police, fire departments, hospitals, Airport operators among others to ensure interoperability and practicality.

Public Engineering and Works

They are tasked with the management of public resources and direction of all public works operations like for instance removing of trash and debris. It also deals with the coordination of private sector utilities like gas and power on its shutdown and upon its restoration. It also deals with the coordination of the utilities in the private sector and contractors using private resources in order to carry out operations for public works (Carroll, 2009).

Public Media/Information

It deals with the gathering, coordination and dissemination of factual information.

Security/ Police

They direct the flow of traffic, carry out operations in law enforcement and manage resources used in enforcing law.

The National Transportation Board or NTSB

It is tasked with the responsibility both conducting and controlling all investigations related to accidents that involve military and civil aircrafts in the US, its possessions and territories.

The National Weather Service

It is tasked with the provision of important technical assistance information in support of the recovery and emergency response plans. It also deals with provision of assistance related to both warning and alert processes that are associated with weather emergencies.


They are responsible for the coordination of the disaster plan for the hospital to be used in the community and airport’s EOP.

Mutual Aid Agencies

They are tasked with the responsibility of integrating and coordinating emergency services in the AEP using mutual aid Standard Operating Procedures and agreements. It should however be noted that some places already have laws or regulations that are aimed at governing such mutual agreements of aid activities.

The Development and Maintenance of the Airport Emergency Plan

Generally, it is always recommended that the relevant personnel should regularly review the Airport Emergency Plan procedures, policies and any association information. There should also be training that deals with covering any changes in procedures, policies and availability of resources to ensure that all the relevant people are equipped with updated information.

Scheduling of Review

It is always recommended that a review for each particular part of the Plan is developed and which should comprise of various major elements like for instance:

  • The telephone contacts or numbers in the AEP should be reviewed 4 times in a year to ascertain their accuracy through calling the organizations and the people who are listed in them. Any changes noted should be noted and corrective action taken to ensure that the list is well updated and contains the people who can be reached (Corzine, 2013).
  • A monthly testing of the AEP radio frequencies that are used in the support of the process should be carried out.
  • There should be a routine inspection of the emergency resources.
  • There should be an annual review of mutual aid agreements.
  • The off-airport actions or activities should be reviewed more often and ensure that an open dialogue is maintained with the off-airport agencies like for instance the public works departments and utilities to become aware of activities which may cause a negative impact on the efforts of emergence responses e.g. major utility works and road closures and constructions.
  • The mutual aid agreements ought to be reviewed as specified in the agreement or even annually.
  • Personnel assignments that comprise of responsibilities and duties of various people should also be reviewed on a semi-annual basis. 

Training Drills and Exercises

It is prudent to note that a vital part of the maintenance and validation of the AEP comes from the general training, drills and exercise events or programs. It is important to ensure that a functional critique or feedback program is developed in the organization when the drills, training and exercises are carried out. Drilling, training and exercise programs are a vital part component in the maintenance and validation of the AEP. However, it always prudent to ensure that an effective and functional feedback and critique program is developed during the execution of the drills, training and execution programs (Prather, 2012).

Specific Hazards

The aim of this section is to place emphasis on the special planning needs of the specific hazards which may be encountered in airports. It is therefore tasked with dealing with vital operational actions which must be completed in order to facilitate for the comprehensive and successful completion of numerous response functions. Some of the possible hazards that may call for response include the Natural Disasters, Bomb incidents, Aircraft accidents and incidents, failure of power in the “Movement Area Lighting”, structural fires and hazardous incidents involving materials.

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Major Definitions in the Aircraft Accidents and Incidents

Aircraft Accident: This refers to any happening that is linked with the aircraft’s operations which includes the time an individual boards such an aircraft with a reason of flighting and the time that such an individual disembarks in which serious injury or even death occurs due to the occurrence or even in the event that the aircraft encounters substantial damage.

Aircraft Incident: This refers to any occurrence which is linked with the aircraft’s operation of the aircraft that is not regarded as being an aircraft accident.

The Classification system of Incidents

Level 1 incidents

These are accidents which may happen due to problems associated with the landing gear. This normally happens due to the existence of emergency situations and in circumstances where it is not ascertained whether emergency accidents or incidents have occurred.

Level 2 Incidents

This occurs due to suspected or known operational defects on the aircraft that can have an impact on the normal operations of the flights in the airport to an extent that there is even a looming danger of accidents.

Level 3 Incidents

These are aircraft accidents which normally occur in the airport or within its vicinity.


Once it has been ascertained that an aircraft or airport emergency actually exists, various relevant personnel should actually be notified and among them include the City Fire and the Police Department, the Airport Operations Manager, the City Manager or the Mayor, the FAA Operations Centre, Public Works and other relevant staff incase the Ops cannot be reached (Prather, 2013).

Responsibilities of the Airport Director

He or she is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that all the airport areas and other places for the “Approach off Airport” property are used for landing by the aircraft. On the other hand, the airport staff will be tasked with ensuring the proper coordination of all the relevant agencies that are involved in the emergency mission in order to ensure that there is efficient and quick response to the emergency.

The Level One Classification Responses

Personnel in the “Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter” or ARFF should always be advised regarding vital information like for instance regarding the type of aircraft, the amount and type of fuel being used by the aircraft, the potential number of both crew and passengers on board, the nature of the emergency, the amount, location and type of cargo, the nature of the emergency and the number of passengers on board who may have been injured.

The Classification of Level 2 Response

  • Just like in Level 1, the ARFF personnel should also be furnished with the same information in addition to any other vital details which will make it easy for preparation of potential contingencies. The Police or the fire department should also advice the staff at the airport or the relevant fire department or radio talk group with a radio patch aimed at facilitating effective coordination and response. Indeed, a full response mechanism should actually be availed along with the emergency equipment that should be positioned and manned with running engines and all emergency lightings in the airport should be fully functional in order to ensure that quick response to the accident or incident site is accomplished (Hardaway, 2008).
  • Standby locations at the City Airport should actually be accessed using the Terminal Apron Gates” and therefore the responding units should actually position or locate themselves in a way that ensures they have a good view of the taxiways as well as the runways. The individual who is charge of the Fire Department or the Response equipment should also anticipate that the aircraft can roll out and therefore place the vehicles tasked with emergency response at some distance that is actually up wind from rollout places.
  • The communication by the Airport Staff to the aircraft or the Unicom frequency should be passed on to the Fire Department. This ensures that there is a safety factor for rolling out and incase the emergency requires such, the vehicle should actually be on the move towards the stopping of the aircraft from the upwind directions.
  • The ARFF vehicle should be made to move on a “fast parallel course” towards the aircraft once it becomes clear that the aircraft is actually going to move towards the standby location or position. 

Level Three Classification Responses

  • The full ARFF processes should actually be applied in this case. All relevant and well updated information should be relayed by the staff in the airport or the concerned dispatching agency to the emergency units that are dealing with the response and they must also include the accident’s location using the distance and the direction from the thresholds, terminal buildings, landmarks, midfield road or street, businesses, creeks, e.t.c (Volpe, 2008).
  • In circumstances where there is unavailability of “aircraft related information”, then the ARFF personnel or staff should expect the worst of situations or circumstances and thus prepared accordingly.
  • The FAA “Operations Centre” should be notified regarding the site’s conditions especially if such conditions are known to interfere with the operations of flights at the airport. In addition to that, the staff at the airport should also issue applicable “NOTAMS” and then ensure that the relevant “Unicom advisories” are also effectively communicated. 

It is important to note that incase the accident involves either personal injury or even death, then the aircraft’s wreckage should never be disturbed or even be moved until the relevant “FAA Duty Officer” has been notified.

After the authorization of the authorized FAA personnel, the aircraft’s wreckage may then be moved away from the taxiways or runway systems in order to facilitate timely and effective airport reopening. It should be noted that the owner of the airport should actually be responsible for the removal of the damaged aircraft. The County Transportation Department together with the Airport FBO should be tasked with ensuring that proper assistance is provided in the recovery process.

After the removal of the wreckage, a representative from the Airport Operations should inspect the taxiways and runways pavement surfaces to ascertain any debris or damages and if it is proved as being satisfactory, shall order the reopening of the airport to air traffic.

The City shall be tasked with the responsibility of billing all the costs which were incurred during both the recovery and removal of the aircraft from the airport’s operational areas and also allowing the airport to come back no normalcy for both the operator or owner of the aircraft (Prather, 2011).

The Airport Staff

In circumstances where the both the passengers and the pilots cannot communicate, then the staff shall be tasked with various responsibilities like for instance:

    • Checking with the relevant FBOs to ascertain if any of the parties could have been associated or waiting with the aircraft.
    • Checking with the Operations Centre at FAA to ascertain if there is availability of a Flight plan for the airport and get associated information.
    • Incase the tail number of the plane or aircraft is readable or known, then the Airport Staff should use the internet in order to ascertain the operator of owner of the aircraft by clicking on and selecting on databases located at the top of the screen.
    • The Airport staff will also be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the aircraft’s operator is notified and that the nearest “National Transportation Safety Board Field Office” is also notified immediately.

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