A key to successfully manage an aircraft accident is to establish and foster relationships prior to the event. The FAA requires that airports include mutual aid partners in their emergency plans and in annual table-top and triennial full-scale exercises. An aircraft accident could occur in a community that is not within proximity of an airport and does not regularly participate in aircraft accident response planning. Regardless of the location of the accident, there are many complex activities that will need to occur, for some for as long as a couple of weeks after the event. Those activities will require a broader group of stakeholders that should also be engaged in aircraft accident response planning. Aircraft accident response stakeholders are those entities who are traditionally included in the airport emergency plan and also include agencies that could find themselves responding to an aircraft accident. There are many publically available materials on emergency response management, but there continues to be a lack of understanding on what all the different stakeholders provide in terms of knowledge, expertise, and resources; some stakeholders may also not understand how their role fits into the “big picture” of the overall accident response. Research is needed to guide airports in identifying and engaging aircraft accident response stakeholders.
The objectives of the research were to develop (1) guidance for airports in identifying and engaging aircraft accident response stakeholders, for both the initial and long-term response, when planning for aircraft accidents and (2) educational materials, e.g., video, interactive software, etc., that airports can use to engage accident response stakeholders and help each stakeholder to understand the impact of its responsibilities within the larger context of a response to an aircraft accident.
The guidance should address the following topics:
- Notwithstanding what is required in the airport emergency plan and based, in part, on a geographic analysis of aircraft accidents, how many miles beyond airport property should airports consider engaging municipalities in their aircraft accident response planning;
- Which stakeholders have specific responsibilities by federal law or regulation (e.g., NTSB, airlines) in an aircraft accident;
- Identification of traditional stakeholders groups with responsibilities in an aircraft accident on or off-the airport;
- How airports should identify their respective stakeholders, including those based on a geographic analysis of aircraft accidents;
- How airports can engage with stakeholders typically not in the airport emergency plan;
- Lessons learned from other airports and/or community stakeholders on engagement activities and frequency of engagement;
- How airports can obtain information from each stakeholder on (a) the information/resources they have available in response to an aircraft accident and (b) the information/resources they are going to need from other stakeholders to respond appropriately to an aircraft accident;
- Methods, techniques, and frequency of engagement activities with stakeholders in preparing for an aircraft accident on or off the airport; and
- Graphical representation or other method to illustrate how all the stakeholders fit into the “big picture” in a response to an aircraft accident.