Operation Ready

BOS continues its effort to bring together disparate groups into a coordinated plan

During this period, Massport Fire-Rescue and regional emergency services worked to analyze the correlating risk factors, as well as their response capabilities, in dealing with such a horrific event.

Exercise Goals
As the groups prepared for a region-wide exercise, the following goals were identified:

  • Assess all hazard planning to ensure response capacity needs meet demand of a high volume casualty event.
  • Apply Airport Incident Management System in relation to the National Incident Management System.
  • Evaluate mass casualty operations, transport capabilities, airfield/egress and surge impacts to hospital intake processes.
  • Review regional traffic management plans of law enforcement and state transportation agencies to optimize flow of emergency vehicles.
  • Evaluate interoperability of public/private emergency operation centers, as well as the interface of emergency plans of public agencies, hospitals, corporate partners and foreign consulates.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities regarding the Family Assistance Center.

The Scenario
During low visibility operations, United Airlines Flight 123, a B757, lands full length on Runway 33L, and reduces speed to roll out. At this point, American Airlines flight 456, a B777, crosses Runway 33L on November Taxiway. The two aircraft collide at moderate speed. There are 532 passengers and crew on board the two aircraft. A fire ensues upon collision, causing multiple casualties and fatalities.

Federal Air Marshals, U. S. Secret Service Agents, executives from Fidelity Investments and State Street Bank, foreign nationals, the Boston University Women’s Ice Hockey Team, passengers with disabilities, and an unaccompanied minor are on board the aircraft.

Exercise Design
The exercise series was designed as a progressive training cycle in which each series module builds upon the next. This approach provides all stakeholders at either end of the response system with an “aerial view” through education and awareness outside of their respective environments.

Symposium & Tabletop 1: More than 400 stakeholders learned about surface incidents and runway incursions by managers of the FAA Boston ATCT. In addition, Captain Henry Jones, the pilot of the USAirways flight on June 9, 2005, provided his perspective and actions to avert disaster. The presentations provided realism and intensity as all stakeholders worked through their processes and roles that they would follow upon notification response and field operations, hospital intake, patient tracking/reconciling manifest.

Full Scale Exercise
In heavy rain and low visibility operations, two aircraft loaded with passengers were positioned on a closed runway. An explosion and fire, managed by the Massachusetts State Police EOD Team, simulated the collision and started the exercise.

A key issue identified for corrective action in the previous exercise was the gap in the efficient throughput of private ambulances onto the airfield. Improvements to staging and throughput management were completed and exercised. Ambulances were grouped in ten, identified as transport strike teams, and loaded into chutes for rapid deployment from staging. Each strike team was assigned an escort vehicle for airfield access and egress.

Survival Factors — 532 passengers and crew:
Priority 1 (110) Priority 3 (196)
Priority 2 (176) Fatal (50)

In triage, 480 survivors were bar-coded, loaded into ambulances and buses, and transported to hospitals in Boston and Cambridge. Buses were escorted to hospitals by police motorcycles. Traffic management and street closure plans were implemented.

Hospitals tested intake and tracking, as well as resource management in staffing emergency departments and operating rooms.

Symposium & Tabletop 2: Activated Logan’s Family Assistance Plan. Over 500 stakeholders listened to Jim Hurd, who lost his son on TWA Flight 800, share his experiences and the importance for airports to be prepared to deal with families.

Also, former National Trans-portation Safety Board member John Goglia described the traumatic aftermath of an aircraft accident, and the needs and issues surrounding surviving families.

We Recommend