Airport Emergencies

Airport Emergency Technologies


Airports around the world have differences. Majority of these differences are attributed to the function of the aerodrome. For instance, an airport serving international flightsis not the same as an airport serving locally. It can be explained by the fact that international airport is big in size and itsoperations are advanced, while local airportsaccomplishless complicated facilities. However, regardless of all the differences between them, all these airports have something in common. In these regards, bothinternational andlocalairportsface emergencies. Some of these occurrencescan be categorized into six broad categories. They include; aircraft incidents, as well as accidents, natural disaster, structural fires, hazardous material incidents, bomb incidents and failure of power.

These emergencies requirequick responsesin order to save lives, protect public health, or even protect property. When suchincidents occur, airports whether local or international, depend on the surrounding community because there is no airport that has enough resources to respond to all emergencies faced. Apart from the need for sufficient help, airport must be prepared throughestablishing clear plan so that the crises can be solved efficiently and effectively.


While handling airport emergencies, various institutionsare directly involved. A good plan helps these groups to know exactly their roles, rather than act in confusion, and hence endangering lives of victims. Individual responsible for establishing an emergency plan is the airport manager. Below is a case of airport emergency.

An aircraft was hijacked with hijackers on board and en-routed to land at an airport. This form of emergency falls under terrorist airport emergency category. In such cases, saving the  lives of the victims on board is the ultimate and sole aim. In order to carry out this objectivesuccessfully, an emergency plan highlighting specific activities of different organizations that are involved while resolving airport emergencyhas to be established.

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Activities of various groupsbefore, during and after an emergency

Airport Management

Airport management involves airport and subordinate managers. In the case of hijacked aircraft en-route, theyneed to conduct various activities before the emergency, during an emergency as well as after it. Some of these activities include:

  • Airport management is expected to notify authorities about the situation immediately. The managers can get in touch with the authorities by calling911 or the same local number.
  • Scene incident commander. Theairport manager is responsible for negotiations if necessary. This function is indispensableas it facilitates the accomplishment of objectives.
  • Airport manager is responsible for establishing, promulgating and coordinating, maintaining as well as implementing airport emergency plan. Thus he is responsible for the execution of the contingency plan.
  • When it is necessary to close the airport, airport managers are responsible for coordination of the closing as well as for disseminationof safety related information to individuals within the premises.
  • Coordinationof communication services. Under this responsibility, airport managers are expected to perform various activities. First, to identify as well as designate private and public services agencies to be used to conductairports communications. Second, to determine repair capabilities, as well as availability of these communication services under this emergency. Third, airport managers should establish communication protocols as well as frequency of using them during the emergency.

Aircraft Operator

Aircraft operators group mostly includesthe pilots, co-pilots and even radar readers. This category is rich in details about aircrafts and can be significant duringthe emergency. They are, therefore, tasked to:

  • Provide accurate information about the aircraft in question, that is, number of persons on board, objectson board that may be dangerous and even the type and volume of fuel that the aircraft is using.
  • Coordinate transportation, accommodation as well as any other necessary arrangements for the victims.
  • Coordinate usingof available resources so as to efficiently and effectively resolve the emergency.

Airport Tenants

  • Coordinate utilization of available resources at their disposal. Some of these resources include available equipment as well as supplies.
  • Manpower, especially highly skilled, is of great significancein this situation. Airport tenants are, therefore, expected to coordinate their labor as they have technical knowledge about the aircrafts, as well as the airport in general.

Emergency Management Agencies (EMA)

  • The act of aircraft hijacking possesses threat to the region. Emergency management agencies should consider the role of the airport in support of state or regional defense plan.
  • The agencies should also coordinate local emergency operations plans alongside with the airport emergency plan.

Emergency Medical Agencies

Cases of hijacking, as well as hostages, are very delicate. In some instances, injuries may occur though they are not highly anticipated. Therefore, it is necessary to have emergency medical agencies in place. These organizations are expected to:

  • Provide emergency medical services like first aid, stabilization as well as transportation of injured people to medical establishments.
  • Coordinate planning, response to the crisis and cooperate with bigger organizations or groups like airport operators, police or fire departments and hospitals.

Federal Aviation Administration

  • This body is responsible for certifying as well as monitoring procedures and practices that are taking place in the airport.
  • The institutionis also amenablefor providing necessary investigation services.
  • Also, the body is expected to assist Federal Bureau of Investigation in the process of their research.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Terrorism is a federal offense. This necessitates involvementof the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The purpose of this organization is to:

  • Investigate the activities of hijacking that may involve federal criminal offenses.
  • Though the airport manager is the commander of the scene with the hijacking situation, Federal Bureau of Investigation can assume the negotiations.

In regards to the bureau assuming control, the hijackers may make demands that are way beyond the airport managers’ functions. The bureau is a state organization thus making it to be in a better position to handle the situation. Also, the bureau has trained negotiators who can efficiently as well as effectively handle an emergency.

Government Authorities

  • State authorities are significant in this emergency as they help with post emergency activities. Once the victims have been rescued, and hijackers arrested, the airport authority has no jurisdiction to hold them. Therefore, government authorities put the culprits ontrial while playing a significant role in post-emergency investigations.


As was previously mentioned, this emergency has high potential risks. Victims can be injured being the hostages of hijackers. Hospitals coordinate the contingency plan with the airport as well as community thus helping to save lives. The hospitals create the rooms to receive the injured when they are brought in by the emergency medical agencies. Also, the hospital staff is available so as to help to manage the situation efficiently as well as effectively.


  • In cases of emergencies, people, especially the families of victims, need to get the accurate information. Medias are given a taskto gather, coordinate as well as release information that is as precise as possible.

Accurate information helps public understand the situation right. If there are any important messages, community will be informed thus playing their roles effectively. For instance, in case of injuries, the public will be advised toclear the roads for easy and quick transportation of injured to hospitals.


In this case hijacking law enforcement is necessary. Also, police officers need to regulate thetraffic. Police, as well as security organization, are, therefore, tasked to:

  • Manage resources that are necessaryto enforce the law.
  • Coordinate traffic since the public will be attracted to the scene while the areaneeds to be clear and only authorized personnelcanaccess it. Isolation makes hijackers capturing possible.
  • Enforce the law. In case ifsomeone is caught breaking the law, he mustbe arrested. For instance, when an unauthorized person is found within the isolated premises he must be detained by the police.

Emergency plan-Aircraft hijacking

Airport manager will:

  • Establish an isolated location on the aerodrome. All peoplewithin this area must be taken outand only authorized personnel canaccess it. Some of the authorized personnel include the airport manager, police officers as well as FederalBureau of Investigation stuff.
  • Informthe police department. This can be done by calling 911 ora local contact like XXX-XXX-XXXX. The Federal Bureau of Investigations must be also notified. The airport managers can contact them by dialing their number and requesting for their assistance in the situation.
  • Informthe owner of the hijacked aircraft. The owner can be a single person or a firm. Airport staff would assist in finding ofhis contacts thus the manager canhavea difficult time.

Federal Bureau of Investigation will

  • Assume negotiations with hijackers once the aircraft lands.

Flow Control Chart

Toexecute the emergency plan efficiently a particular flow of activities should be followed. The first necessary step that enables efficient as wellas effective resolution of the contingency plan is to establish the plan. At this stage, various activities of different groups involved before, during and after an emergency are identified. Second step is to review the plan. This processensures that the airport is ready for any possible occurrences that may take place and thus that thenecessary changes were made. Third step is to train personnel in their various matters that affect the plan, like policies, procedures as well as resource availability. Training will help the groups involved in the plan to stay informed. Fourth step is the execution stage. This step includesvarious groups performing their different assignments to facilitate the accomplishment of the objective of the plan.

Layout of the Incident Site

Design is crucial to the execution of theemergency plan. The layout serves as a map indicatingstrategy points where each group involved would be found. This helps to achieve an adequate response and thus accomplish the purpose of the plan. In this case, Federal Bureau of Investigation would take the front line. This happens since the group would be leading in negotiations. The airport manager and the police officers would be next. Manager would provide the necessary information about the facilities to enhance effective and efficient execution of the plan. Police officers would be positioned there so as to move in fast when the hijackers surrender and arrest them. Emergency medical agencies would be placed after the police officers for easy and quick access to victims once released. They would offer first aid services and transport victims to hospitals for further checkups. Media would follow then in orderto receivea clear view of activities taking place and thus to get the accurate information to acquaint the public with.

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Review Checklist

To carry out the emergency plan successfully the consistent review is necessary. Some of the issues that should occasionally be reviewed include the contacts of important groups for the execution of the program as the local number of the police department as well as that of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The contactsofvarious agencies like emergency medical agencies as well as hospitals should occasionally be reviewed.

Apart from reviewing numbers of relevant groups in the execution of the plan, frequency of communications should often be tested, for example, monthly. This verification makes sure that in case when emergency rises nothing hinders communication and thus smooth execution of the plane.

Resources that would be used in case whenemergency arises should beoccasionally inspected, too. Apart from examining emergency resources, personnel assignments should sometimes be reviewed. The airport management should also keep in touch with off-airport agencies so as to inform them of activities that may impact negatively on execution of an emergency plan and possible alternatives provided.


Various airports are subjects to airport emergencies. Terrorism is part of these occurrencesas theterrorists can hijack theaircrafts. In most cases of emergencies, situations need to be managed. This helps to save lives as well as protect properties. Regarding the emergency management, emergency plans have to be established. According to them, responsibilities of various groups are spelled out to enable efficient and effective resolution of the emergency.

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