Additionally, this program was designed to assist regional colleges and universities with a planning template, as they are ramping up family assistance protocols in light of recent campus shootings.
Outreach and Innovation
The passenger demographic analysis helped emergency planners understand that Logan, like all airports, is interconnected with the region and is where a number of industries intersect. A crisis at the airport has far-reaching impacts for stakeholders that have responsibility or interest over passengers. This drove the outreach to colleges, the consulates, and the private sector.
The exercise was designed to provide students with a practical education opportunity outside the classroom. Casualty victims were played by cadets studying emergency management at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, as well as others from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Also, students from Boston University College of Communication and Emerson College School of Journalism role-played journalists and media representatives.
Thousands of college students from all over the world travel through Logan individually and as groups, representing their respective institutions.
Fidelity Investments and State Street Corporation, both headquartered in Boston, are two prominent worldwide financial services representing one of Boston’s core industries. On a monthly basis, some 7,000 of their executives are travelling in the air transportation system. Both corporations are also developing Family Assistance Plans of their own.
All transportation authorities in Massachusetts participated to review transit procedures and refine traffic management plans on surface roads and tunnel systems.
The exercise focus was on management of a high-volume casualty event — specifically, processes and systems. Practicing pre-hospital care skills was not an objective as first responders are well prepared in this area, and utilize such skills regularly in daily operations. Casualty victims were pre-triaged and provided with colored T-shirts (red, yellow, green) to match the triage tag and priorities of their conditions. Each victim received a medical script identifying their specific injury and emotional state.
The Massachusetts Office on Disabilities is a key partner. Four volunteer victims self-identified themselves as disabled. Two were visually impaired and two were mobility impaired. The involvement of these individuals gave first responders the opportunity to review interpersonal skills during emergencies, as well as proper management of service animals.
Given the variance relative to the diverse aircraft fleet mix serving Logan, in combination with matching passenger loads, a fire-rescue proportioned response plan is being developed. The proportioned response will be scaled to the size of the airframe, and casualty potential.
To help EMS and hospitals to expeditiously coordinate appropriate resources, a “multi-disciplinary crosswalk” matrix is being developed. This will standardize the initial response of fire, EMS and hospitals, based on the demand management model.
Confusion around the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was revealed. Hospitals, public health, the Red Cross, and the airlines explained challenges faced in providing, obtaining, and releasing information regarding patient locations within the hospital system, despite the common goal of reunifying families with victims.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston Public Health Commission, and Massport have established a working group to develop policies and agreements around HIPAA in the event of any transportation disaster in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In a survivable accident, Logan’s Family Assistance Plan will have an expanded role, serving as a centralized information center. Massport, Red Cross, hospitals, and other partners endeavor to provide “one stop shopping” for families to locate their loved ones within the medical system, and to facilitate the reunification of families.