The National Academies

ACRP 04-19 [Final]

Airport Emergency Planning Template: NIMS - Incident Command System Compliance

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: FTI Consulting
Principal Investigator: Scott Corzine
Effective Date: 12/8/2015
Completion Date: 8/31/2018


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-31C titled Airport Emergency Plan (AEP). Under 31C (dated 6/19/2009), airports are required to have AEP fully compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) / Incident Command System (ICS). Some airports have had difficulty getting FAA approval for their 31C compliant AEPs. Standardization among AEPs is lacking because no two airports are quite alike. Yet, AEP standardization could be improved while making them NIMS/ICS-complaint in accordance with 31C. There are software packages in the emergency management field that are used to help stakeholders write NIMS/ICS-compliant emergency operations plans. Similar software is needed to assist airports with writing the Airport Emergency Plan to be compliant with 31C.


The objectives of this research are to develop (1) an electronic template that will extract airport-user input information and text through interactive sequential inquiries in order to prepare a draft airport-specific, NIMS/ICS compliant Airport Emergency Plan; (2) a user-guide, training curriculum and tools for learning how to use the template; and (3) electronic interactive instructions and guidance embedded into the template to help users understand the regulatory context of each element of the AEP with cross-references to Part 139, Advisory Circular 150/5200-31C, and other relevant documents for guidance.
The template should also:
  • present inquiries so that the airport-user can provide the custom text that is unique to that airport (e.g., each variable needs user input);
  • give airport-users the ability to identify unique variables that may be applicable to only that airport;
  • allow for user input that is flexible (freeform) for maximum custom-applicability;
  • incorporate explanation/education references inside the template to help users understand the regulatory source of key compliance elements in the template (e.g., the template should explain the context for the variable and, if possible, suggest text for input);
  • be designed as scalable, to apply to different sized airport needs;
  • automate much of the regulatory commonalities and provide for airport-specific customization of regional differences;
  • identify all variables that airport-users need to respond with input to complete the template;
  • include place-holders for exhibits (i.e., maps, forms, unfinished sections that will come from elsewhere, etc.) so the final output shows pages that will need external documents;
  • be easy to save along the way and return to completing the template with each section printable and searchable;
  • allow for saved iterations and provide for easy update of previous output documents with at least one final output in Microsoft Word (or similar) formats so airports can custom edit the document and share easily;
  • include a progress bar (e.g., percent completion) that is displayed prominently as users proceed through the template and display key section-titles and show what has had user input, such as showing flags for elements completed and not completed.

Research is complete.  Prior to being made available to the public, the tool is being enhanced and redesigned to reside on the web.  These enhancements are being undertaking in ACRP Project 04-19A.

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