SECURING THE RAMP
DIA takes a common sense approach to preventing airport accidents
By Lindsay M. Hitch, Assistant Editor
Denver International’s Airport Security division developed a systematic program to ensure the proper training and certification of all airfield drivers without having to do it all themselves. Here, a closer look at developing and managing the DIA driver program.
Recently, runway incursions have been rather prevalent in industry and national news. And although technological advances may help in prevention, the best solution may still simply be training drivers to use all their senses, including common sense.
The driver training program began in the early ’90s at Denver’s Stapleton Airport. Initial efforts consisted of a video and a ten question test. An additional checklist was developed for those needing to drive in aircraft movement areas.
Lori Beckman, assistant deputy manager of operations/airport security at Denver Int’l, explains that the driver training program started in connection with increasing access control requirements. "On one side they were coming up with all kinds of new security training and at the same time started doing driver training."
Beckman says that the training and security clearance were combined out of convenience. To get a security badge, individuals needed to watch a video and take a test, so it seemed logical to cover driver training at the same time. Airport Security, a division of Airport Operations, conducts both functions.
HITTING IT BIG
Beckman was involved in the move from Stapleton to DIA and in adapting the security and training programs to the new environment. Prior to the move, she hired an airfield manager to determine what the "driver issues" would be at the new facility.
From an operational standpoint, the differences between Stapleton and Denver Int’l were phenomenal. At Stapleton, Airport Security worked with about 125 companies for security and driver certification. With DIA’s larger facility and the difference between a master concessionaire (Stapleton) and individual leases (DIA), Airport Security would need to manage employees from over 700 companies (air carriers, tenants, concessions operators, concessions vendors, etc).
"We developed a whole training program and decided that we couldn’t physically do it, that we needed to train company people to do it. So we developed a ’Train the Trainer’ program," says Beckman.
Each company selects a lead driver trainer who is responsible for performing and ensuring the proper training of all other company drivers. Some of the larger companies have a lead trainer and five or more assistants. Employees that have watched the training video and taken the test go for an airport "drive-around" with the lead trainer to see where they are authorized to drive and to cover special rules.
While this tactic worked well initially, Airport Security soon realized they had no way of ensuring that the drive-around was performed.
"There was no ramification... and we really weren’t tracking it that close," says Beckman. "So when you do your driver training and get your badge, if you don’t return the driver training record showing that you actually did the physical driving piece within ten days, we cancel your badge. So it’s still up to the company trainer to get them signed off and get the form returned to us, but we have control."
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