The Airport Emergency Response Operations Simulation (AEROS), developed as part of ACRP Project 04-04, provides a training-centered suite of exercise scenarios focused on decisionmaking during airport emergency management situations. The purpose of AEROS is to provide web-based exercises for the command roles in the emergency operations center (EOC) for the FAA-required hazards (as listed in Part 139.325 scenarios). Decisionmakers receive immediate feedback both during the simulation and afterwards in a post-review. The tool provides a common environment for a range of training from initial familiarization for a novice through full team collaboration for expert-level performers. The tool can be used individually or as a facilitated exercise.
The objectives of this research are to (1) assess the overall usefulness of the AEROS simulation tool and its scenarios and (2) provide recommendations, as applicable, to ensure its effectiveness as a training tool for the airport industry. The research should include:
1. An evaluation of the AEROS simulation software compared to other simulation software tools from other industries (see Special Note B) to determine best practices that are effective in training novice through expert-level responders in their roles and responsibilities in emergency response.
2. Field evaluations and usability reviews of the AEROS tool and its scenarios to determine usefulness to airports. Evaluations of all scenarios should be conducted, be geographically diverse, include responders from each anticipated EOC role, represent Index A-E airports, and allow all participants an opportunity to provide feedback.
3. Definition of the audience(s) where the tool will provide the most value to the airport industry, including the best way to familiarize the user community(s) with the use of the tool.
The research plan should be developed so that, at a minimum, the following questions can be answered as part of the AEROS evaluation:
· What are the advantages and disadvantages of the scenarios, as they are developed, with respect to training EOC responders? Explain the rationale of the analysis.
· Is there enough variability within the scenarios to keep users engaged and to optimize learning of responder roles and responsibilities?
· Does this tool help responders better understand the necessary steps they will need to take in their role in an emergency response?
· Is the tool user-friendly and intuitive to the novice computer user?
· Is this tool appropriate for all size airports as it relates to the different resources that airports have available to them in an incident?
· Does the fact that the simulation is unable to exactly replicate an activated EOC with respect to the noise level and chaotic atmosphere decrease the effectiveness of the tool?
· What are the different ways in which this tool can be used (i.e, in what environment, individual, group, facilitated exercise, or classroom)?
· What are the computer system requirements needed for the software, as developed, to function properly?
· What are the best practices for applying the tool in the airport environment, post training record keeping, and measuring effectiveness of the training session?
· What are the potential pitfalls that an airport should be aware of that already uses an emergency response management software system?
The research plan should include appropriate interim deliverables that include, at a minimum: (a) A report that discusses the research and findings pertaining to the use of simulation tools in other industries, including lessons learned and best practices that are applicable to the airport industry. This report should be completed prior to the completion of subsequent work and should be submitted to ACRP for review. (b) A detailed plan that includes the methods and delivery of conducting the field evaluations and usability review, which should include both facilitated and individual evaluations, the locations, and the types of responder roles participating in the evaluations, with justifications for the selection process. Include the methods for obtaining feedback and any other data-collection methods that may be used. (c) An interim report that provides all the information to date and any updates to the research plan for remaining tasks. The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, (2) review and approval of the evaluation plan, and (3) web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.
The final deliverables will include: a final report that documents the research, provides the findings and analysis from the evaluation and usability review of the scenarios and the tool, provides feedback and analysis of the provided questions above, outlines best practices for optimizing training for novice to expert-level responders, describes the audience(s) for the tool with recommendations as to how to best reach those audiences as to the availability of the tool, and includes recommendations on what, if any, modifications are necessary to the tool and/or the scenarios to ensure its usefulness to the airport industry.
STATUS: The panel has met and selected a contractor. The contracting process is underway.