Everyone gets it, airport operations are busy and safety is the number one priority. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if but rather when something will occur.
That ‘something’ can be as small as a weather event or as large as a major incident involving injuries; even fatalities. During an incident, access to tools that ensure seamless response are invaluable. Tools which include the ability to set plans, checklists, track actions and provide a secure communications medium for staff and outside agencies are essential for an airport operations manager or emergency management leader.
When looking for a tool to aid airport ops and response, the IEM Final Report on Integrating Web-based Emergency Management Collaboration Tools into Airport Operations indicates that basic capabilities should include a number of factors, among them:
In addition to managing events, the best return on investment is a tool which can be utilized for daily operations. This tool allows your ops team to continue day-to-day tasks while your response team separately manages the incident.
Your full response team isn’t at the airport 24/7. We all know events can happen at night, when your Ops Chief is on vacation or even during the holidays. Managing incidents therefore from any location or gathering common operating picture information from the scene is essential. Tools that can connect everyone regardless of location are the most effective.
The ability to manage disparate systems in one location is also of great benefit. Management of video sensors, cameras and other equipment in a collaboration tool means that the ops staff can focus on one system.
Questions that focus on where a resource is physically, who needs it and for how long is paramount to insuring that the resource can be used by the response team at ‘go time.’ Without asking these questions, the response team will delay their initial start which could ultimately lead to averted attention to the unforeseen airport incident event.
Managers are processing a lot of information and making real-time decisions that impact the well-being of souls on board and personnel on the ground. A tool which puts data in decision makers’ hands quickly and concisely is invaluable.
Certainly a number of other factors like ease of use, configurability and sustainability are important as well. A user friendly system can make the difference in an effective emergency response by helping to save lives and minimize the impact of trauma on survivors.
It’s clear that an information management system is vital during an emergency. However, can it also aid in daily airport operations and special events? The answer is a resounding - YES! A tool that allows users to manage daily processes in a configurable environment and doesn’t limit functionality to emergency response offers users the highest rate of success when the inevitable ‘something’ does occur.