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Career Profile: Airport Emergency Response Coordinator

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Saving Lives:

Every airport must have emergency response plan in place. A well thought-out and practiced emergency response plan can save lives in a disaster. An inadequate plan, however, can have fatal consequences.

Emergency Situations That Require Emergency Response Plans:

Past aircraft accident investigations have uncovered both well-orchestrated and unsuccessful disaster response plans at airports. But aircraft accidents and incidents are only one part of an emergency response team's responsibilities at an airport. In addition to crash response, airport emergency response managers need to prepare for many other circumstances:

  • Severe weather, such as tornados, hurricanes, volcanic activity, blizzards and dust storms that threaten lives or destruction.
  • Terrorist attacks, such as those on September 11, 2001, in which terrorists use aircraft as weapons
  • The bombing of an airport facility or aircraft
  • Aircraft hijacking
  • Biological or nuclear weapon use
  • Hazardous material accident
  • Airport or aircraft fires
  • Any other occurrence that threatens human life.

Responsibilities of an Airport Emergency Response Coordinator or Employee:

Emergency response coordinators or other employees that fall into this classification must be prepared for diverse responsibilities on the job. Although the primary goal of the emergency response coordinator is to safely plan, practice and be able to execute a successful disaster response scheme, there are many other duties that may be associated with this position:

  • Develop and maintain a detailed emergency response program, updating the program details on a continuous basis.
  • Practice and rehearse various emergency response drills. Drills and exercises should be accomplished both on paper and in actual "dress-rehearsal" type simulations that involve all real-life emergency response components.
  • Coordinate with airport manager(s), local law enforcement, airport rescue and firefighting crews, and security staff and airport users to ensure all parties are aware of the emergency response plan and know how to implement the plan if they are involved in an emergency o disaster.
  • Ensure that the emergency response program complies with all FAA, federal and local regulations.
  • Conduct training of all airport and necessary off-airport personnel on a regular basis. In-depth training is typically accomplished once per year, with additional training sessions for newly hired staff members or upon changes of the emergency response plan in increments through the year.
  • Procures equipment necessary to ensure proper training, communication and operations can be conducted to ensure successful emergency response program.
  • If needed, appoints and manages an emergency response program team to assist with daily program functions.

Typical Requirements:

Commonly, an airport emergency response coordinator will need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as crisis management, airport management, or emergency response management, along with one to five years of emergency management experience at an airport, city, or a similar place of business.

Other requirements may include:

  • Aviation knowledge and/or experience
  • Experience handling stressful situations
  • Ability to work efficiently under pressure
  • Capable of meeting deadlines
  • Ability to remain calm in crisis situations.

Salary:

According to Payscale.com, the salary range for an emergency response coordinator is between $30,000 and about $100,000 per year, with the average being about $58,000 per year.

As with most jobs, salary will depend on the applicant's personal educational background and experience, as well as knowledge, skills and abilities.

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