LAX Creates Emergency Response Team in Wake of TSA Shooting

Los Angeles International Airport faced criticism for the way it dealt with keeping travelers informed after a shooting rampage at Terminal 3 on Nov. 1. In response, LAX has created a new program called the Airport Response Team (ART) to fill in the communication gaps in any future similar situations.

According to an article recently published by the Los Angeles Daily News, the airport is looking to its employees for volunteers to join the program. ART will be made up of employees who normally would not have duties during emergencies. They could be called in to work at any time and could be asked to work shifts as long as 12 hours in the event of an emergency. ART workers would be paid wages, including overtime.

Barbara Yamamoto, customer service director at LAX, talked to the Los Angeles Daily News about this new venture.

“We’re launching this new program so we can assist when we have an incident or an emergency,” she said. “We want them to focus on comfort, care and communication. We have employees who want to help,” said Yamamoto.

ART members will be in charge of handing out necessities like water, snacks, blankets, diapers and formula. They will also help with crowd control and play a major role in keeping passengers informed during the situation.

A lack of communication was the main concern travelers expressed after the Nov. 1 shooting at Terminal 3, in which Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer Gerardo Hernandez was killed. Many people said they were not told what was going on and had to wait on airport roadways for hours. They had no idea when they would be allowed back inside.

To avoid this kind of confusion and unrest in the future, part of the ART program includes a special telephone information line on which ART members will be able to take customer calls. Due to the communication-focus of ART, many members will be expected to speak more languages than just English.

Though the program has just been announced, it is expected to grow in scope. Yamamoto said ART will begin with about 100 members but could become as many as 300-strong.

Volunteers who are accepted into ART will be given special equipment, including caps, vests, flashlights and whistles. The first ART training is scheduled for Dec. 11.

 

For more information on LAX’s Airport Response Team, visit http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20131126/lax-creates-emergency-response-team-to-improve-communication-with-travelers-in-wake-of-tsa-shooting