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Protecting the functionality of airports during disaster responses: Humanitarian responses to terrorism, war, civil war, and riots

James Fielding Smith, PhD, PE, Captain USNR (Ret), MASCE, Sandra Sue Waggoner, BA, EMT-P, EMSI, Arthur Rabjohn, CEM, Avi Bachar, BGen (Ret)


The response to almost any disaster has major roles for airports that carry out many or all the functions in an incident management system or act as key assets (emergency support functions). Disaster response itself stresses airports and should require protective measures that may be policy, organizational, operational, physical, or defensive. If the response is humanitarian relief during an intentional disaster such as terrorism, war, civil war, or riot, defensive protective measures become critical to airport functionality, continuity of business, and continuity of operations. This article examines 18 airports for threats to functionality and appropriate, effective defensive measures against these threats. In a disaster, an airport can substitute for almost anything else, but nothing else can substitute for an airport. This truism becomes particularly acute when the operational stresses of humanitarian relief and intentional threats coincide at an airport.


riot, war, terrorism, civil, airport, disaster, humanitarian, response

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