The FAA requires airports to develop and maintain emergency plans. Clear guidance is provided within Advisory Circular 150/5200-31C as to how to plan for this. This is the guiding document or airports. However, in conjunction with this Fire Departments and communities should utilize NFPA 424, Guide for Airport/Community Emergency Planning.
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As airport emergency planning covers a wide range of planning, preparedness, and response considerations, this post will serve as a resource guide and brief overview of the airport emergency plan (AEP).
The following resources answer these questions, “Why does my airport need an emergency plan? Where does it state that this is required? How can I create this? What must it contain?”
- 14 CFR 139.325 - sets the requirement that an AEP must be place. It also lays out what items must be included, and what types of emergencies must be planned for. This provides the basic framework.
- FAA AC 150/5200-31C, Airport Emergency Plan - provides all the details necessary to meet the requirements stated in 14 CFR 139.325.
- NFPA 424, Guide for Airport/Community Emergency Planning - gives guidance and direction on aircraft/airport emergency incidents and planning considerations, for local fire officials and community leaders. For a complete and effective plan this should be utilized in conjunction with the aforementioned FAA Advisory Circular.
Within these documents you have a complete “toolkit” to creating an effective and compliant AEP. To start your AEP creation process, you must first develop your “Table of Contents” - what items must be in the plan?
At a minimum your AEP must include the following sections:
- Basic Plan
- Functional Annexes
- Hazard Specific Sections
- Procedures and Checklists
The Basic Plan should include an overview of the AEP, what is covered, a general overview of the airport operations, and statements of authority and responsibility.
Functional Annexes outline the specific roles and responsibilities for each airport department, community resources, and emergency responders. This section of the AEP will also state the necessary resources, and what group is responsible for what part of the the emergency incident.
Aircraft accidents, bomb incidents, structural fires, natural disasters, hazardous materials releases, sabotage, power failures, and water rescue should each have their own “stand alone” operational guidance. These, and any other potential incidents, are to be included in the Hazard Specific Sections of the AEP.
In times of emergency it is easy to become overwhelmed by the many components that must work together to affect a positive outcome. Standard Operating Procedures and Checklists ensure that nothing is overlooked, all issues are addressed, and all agencies and individuals fulfill their responsibilities and assigned tasks.
Each of the documents mentioned include multiple checklists and annexes for direction through this process. The AEP, properly established, will give you clarity on what actions to take before, during, and after an incident.
For guidance on maintaining operations and essential functions, and getting back to full operational capacity the information in NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs, should be consulted.
If you have questions or would like further guidance and assistance with your emergency or business continuity planning feel free to contact me at, email@example.com.