Prevention of Runway Incursions During Emergency Response

Image emergency vehicles on aerodrome

Preventing runway incursions is a core element of runway safety programmes. The aim of the safety programme is to reduce hazards and manage risk. Managing risk requires a systematic approach involving all stakeholders. For the programme to be effective it requires appropriate input and promotion from senior management which reinforces their commitment to runway safety.

An effective and developed runway safety programme will ensure that procedures are embedded into both normal and abnormal operations.

Image of runway boundary markingsIn the event of an accident or incident, runway safety may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, aerodromes work closely with the rescue and fire-fighting service and air traffic control to devise a procedure that allows for a prompt response to an incident or accident on or near the aerodrome whilst minimising the risk of runway incursion. The procedure should ensure that the fire vehicles can deploy without delay and still receive the appropriate information. Throughout the incident all vehicles and personnel must be in receipt of an appropriate clearance from the relevant authority (ATC, Incident Commander) before entering the manoeuvring area. A record of all vehicles and personnel at the incident should be maintained.  

If a vehicle driver is unfamiliar with the aerodrome, or has not received the appropriate training, or the vehicle is not properly equipped to operate on the aerodrome, the aerodrome operator is responsible for managing that vehicle and personnel via the Rendezvous Point (RVP) or Staging Area to ensure that aerodrome safety is maintained.

Learning lessons

If a runway incursion does occur, it is important to review and learn from the occurrence. This is the role of the Runway Safety Team. The aim is to create a proactive approach that continuously checks the current procedures and mitigations are working properly. Remember, that a change to a procedure or the environment will introduce new hazards and potential for runway incursions. Risk assessments along with regular recorded runway safety committees are paramount in achieving the goal of lowering the overall risk to As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).


References:

ICAO Doc 9870

ICAO Doc 9137 Part 1

ICAO Doc 4444

OTAR 139 and OTAC 139-11

OTAR 172 and OTAC 172-6

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