A Virtual Approach to Creating a Proactive Emergency Management Program for Airports

A recent issue of Airport Improvement Magazine featured an article by John Kinney, chair of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Emergency Management Committee, that highlights the importance of airports to define their own Emergency Management Program (EMP). Airports vary drastically in size, operational capacity, and functionality and therefore need flexibility in developing an Emergency Management Program to meet their needs.

Part 139 and TSR 1544 regulations do not capture all the needs of airports to create a comprehensive plan for when an emergency occurs, despite the consequences of having an inadequate EMP. An effective EMP, according to Kinney, must reach all corners of the airport environment–stretching far beyond what the regulations mandate. For this reason, Kinney suggests that an effective EMP pulls not only the first-responders, but communities on and off the airport into the conversation as well. Airports should establish an EMP that follows guidelines across multiple regulations, while incorporating those factors which are unique to the specific airport’s environment exceeding federal guidance.

Considering the above, for Kinney, effective airport emergency management “entails an empowered, proactive strategic group of planners and facilitators who organize resources, personnel, technology, facilities, business and community assets and capital through an organization structure of ICS to deliver the greatest level of resiliency of an airport, expediting the recovery from irregular events.”

A number of Veoci’s processes can help establish Kinney’s vision of a comprehensive, adaptable, and organized EMP that fosters resilience and proactivity.

User End Customizability

Veoci’s point-and-click customization reflects Kinney’s view that an EMP should address factors of the airport’s unique environment. Veoci’s easy-to-use interface allows administrators to build forms, design plans, define gradation among users, and develop escalations all through a drag-and-drop or point-and-click configuration. Without any IT or coding experience, administrators can custom-tailor their digital EMP to fit the specific needs of their airport. In addition, administrators don’t have to wait for a new release or call IT support to reconfigure the EMP to change or modify a plan.

Real Time Communication

“Real-time communication, or as close to it as possible, is necessary to reach every corner of your airport and even off-airport facilities impacted by an event.” (Kinney, 2016,p. 22)

Kinney identifies real-time communication during an emergency as critical for a successful EMP. Veoci is built around an internal real-time communication engine. With a private chat feature for individual users, or a virtual room for groups communication, Veoci prepares airport staff to be in constant communication during an emergency.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-48-14-pmAn effective EMP encompasses every aspect of the airport organization. It is impossible to have every member of these organizations, or even a representative from each, in a physical room especially during a time-sensitive emergency. Veoci supports seamless and structured communication through virtual rooms, or workspaces, where users can communicate across departments to share time-critical information without being constrained to a physical space. Partitioning your airport departments in side-rooms has the added benefits of security and organization. Within these virtual rooms or workspaces members of every department can upload relevant images or videos, track the progress of a plan, or communicate interdepartmentally.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-51-29-pm

Veoci empowers executives or stakeholders who may not even be at the airport during the time of the emergency to be completely up to date and track to progress of the response as it happens in real time.

Organizational Structure

Non-first responders, who will otherwise be left in a ‘gray area’, need clear roles during an emergency. Airport employees who are non-first responders are often left out of the EMP picture, which can add to the disorganization and pandemonium of an emergency. With Veoci, anyone with a smartphone and a login to the system can be given real-time information about an emergency. Pre-made customizable plans can be launched at the click of a button to prompt users to follow a checklist–clarifying and directing everyone’s role in emergency response.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-45-41-pmVeoci also empowers administrators to assign roles to groups of employees, and customize extensive plans for all kinds of emergencies before they happen. For example, in the event of an aircraft accident, administrators can push email, text SMS, or phone calls to anyone included in the airport emergency plan–including those who may be off-airport.

Veoci can help airport managers and executives transform their emergency management program from reactive to proactive. Through predetermined forms, plans, workflows, virtual rooms, and an internal real-time chat, your airport can be innovator in the EMP field.