The National Academies

ACRP 04-04 [Completed]

Exercising Command-Level Decision Making for Critical Incidents at Airports

  Project Data
Funds: $499,093
Research Agency: Applied Research Associates, Inc.
Principal Investigator: John Mann
Effective Date: 9/12/2007
Completion Date: 12/31/2011

Incident training (required by 14 CFR Part 139.325, Airport Emergency Plan) for civil aviation emergency response personnel is currently conducted manually. A significant number of individuals (including command-level senior staff) and commitment of time are needed to exercise and train for specific scenarios. As a result, emergency response and recovery training is generally conducted one time each year, with varying quality, thereby limiting the opportunities that command-level senior staff have to improve their incident management skills.
Command-level decision making is a critical factor in successfully managing and mitigating critical incidents.  Simulation provides a safe and realistic environment in which responders can hone their decision-making skills. Research has shown that responders (including command-level staff) who have more experience with critical incidents are more likely to make more “workable,” “timely,” and “cost-effective” decisions.  By increasing the effectiveness of training, airports will be better prepared to manage critical incidents and meet the requirements of 14 CFR Part 139.325, Airport Emergency Plan.
Research is needed to develop an interactive tool for training and exercising command-level decision making within the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and in conformance with the requirements of 14 CFR Part 139.325, Airport Emergency Plan. Such a tool would supplement physical full-scale exercises as a means to exercise (and thereby improve) critical incident decision making. To do so, this tool must be affordable, cost-effective, easy to setup and use, have readily available support, provide a measured assessment, and allow participants from 14 CFR Part 139 airports to exercise the resources and policies they use in everyday life.
The objective of this research is to create a tool for exercising command-level decision making for critical incidents at 14 CFR Part 139 airports.  The tool will include methods to measure and evaluate actions and outcomes including compliance with nationally recognized standards and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements.
The tool will be used to meet the training and exercise requirements of 14 CFR Part 139.325, Airport Emergency Plan, and will cover civil-aviation-specific scenarios for the nine hazard-specific sections identified in FAA Advisory Circular 150-5200/31 A, Airport Emergency Plan (September 30, 1999).  The 10 functional sections, identified in AC150-5200/31 A, provide a good starting point for development of the tool; to reflect airport needs, however, the tool will allow an airport to readily customize training and exercises for their staffing and geographic areas. Finally, the tool will present training and exercise options and will track the progress of individual employees and teams in meeting training requirements.  The tool must also be configured to protect airport information that is too sensitive to be publicly released.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Status:   Completed.  Four field tests of AEROS (Airport Emergency Response Operations Simulation) were completed. The preliminary draft final report was received in September 2011. The revised final report was submitted in December 2011. A validation project is in development.

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