Research Projects

Airport Emergency Management Capabilities Development trending idea

Using FEMA emergency management core capabilities and CDC's public health preparedness capabilities as models, this ACRP proposed project will help airports across the country expand existing emergency management programs through the development of industry specific capabilities and metrics for increasing resiliency, preparedness, recovery, planning, and more.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Airport accounts of natural disaster and intentional acts necessitated that the national airport community shift focus from strictly aviation related incidents to an all-hazard approach. As a result, airports began developing standalone emergency management divisions with varying and sometime extreme degrees of recovery, preparedness, response, and recovery program capabilities. As airports continue to expand their EM initiatives, they may run into roadblocks or questions of "what comes next?"

FEMA and CDC have already demonstrated the benefits of an established baseline and industry specific emergency management and public health preparedness capabilities, respectively. These benefits include increased opportunity for grant funding as well as consistent national emergency management program continuous improvement opportunities. These capabilities are an ideal model on which to develop an industry-based list of EM capabilities for airports and aviation.

This project will assist all airports in further developing or establishing their EM program through a standardized approach of capability assessment and improvement using FEMA and CDC capabilities as models. Many emergency managers have limited time to develop a capability assessment from scratch and would benefit from tailoring a template of capabilities with metrics to fit their airport's needs. Whether an airport has an EM program of one or multiple full-time staff, this capability project will serve as a baseline for tailoring any EM program to fit individual airport need. Additionally, development of these Airport Emergency Management Capabilities can inform a program's strategic roadmap for long term continuous improvement.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

This project will develop a standard set of capabilities and benchmarks tailored specifically to airports and aviation emergency management/operations to regularly monitor and assess strengths and areas for improvement in their overall emergency management program.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The airport EM capabilities project will consist of a series of tasks designed to collect information on how similar and established initiatives were developed to serve as a basis for developing similar industry specific capabilities for the airport community.

Task 1 – Due Diligence/Background research to identify key priorities in the development of similar capabilities for other disciplines.

Task 2 – Interview jurisdictional representatives on their use of their respective industry capabilities, including positives and areas for improvement in the federal programs, and identify specific functions/metrics with associated rating scheme for each capability.

Task 3 – Interview airports to identify common themes and priorities in EM programs that may translate to general and airport-specific capabilities, including any specific tasks that airports associate with these items.

Task 4 – Develop recommended airport-specific capabilities and associated performance functions for fulfilling the capabilities. Include guidelines on how to assess the current state, determining strategies and activities, and developing plans.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

A key component of today's aviation emergency management is what works for individual facilities. There is no existing consistencies industry wide. The development of this project would provide a foundation for everything from organizational function, to prevention/mitigation activities and more. The referenced research below would overall benefit from this consistency so assessment occurs on a standardized approach.

Training and Development of Airport Emergency Managers - a foundational opportunity to standardize training and program management for future airport EMs. This project would provide consistency in assessment airport to airport, encouraging more collaboration by aligning similar priorities and sharing creative solutions.

Assessing and Improving Data Analytic Capabilities in Airports - provides a solid data analytics framework to measure EM efficiency and progress. EM in general is typically difficult to capture analytics based on its spontaneous response nature. This project would provide EM analytics in the form of continual assessment.

Synthesis: Best practices in Airport Emergency Plans - capabilities are a key component of plans, including the AEP. By making capability assessments more uniform, future AEP development can be better informed and consistent.

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Idea No. 770