The tragedy that occurred at the Fort Lauderdale airport that left five people dead has once again raised questions whether airport security is tight enough at U.S. airports. It also raised the issue of how to communicate emergencies to those in and around the airport and how to update passengers and workers with the latest correct information.
All airports have emergency plans approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including for active-shooter scenarios. The Fort Lauderdale airport’s director, Mark E. Gale, was not available to comment on airport protocols or on how events unfolded Friday, which many say was complete chaos for hours. People were left on the tarmac without food and water. Others were on planes that were grounded for up to seven hours. Communication was sparse, with talk spreading throughout the airport of a second shooter that police were trying to rule out. Much information was learned from cell phones or word of mouth.
Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, wrote about the topic of airport security back in 2010 for the Chicago Lawyer. To view his column, click here.