Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2012 Vol. 59 No. 7


Pensacola Airport

An Airport Disaster Operations Group (DOG) is a voluntary airport-to-airport mutual aid coalition around the country that helps identify specific personnel and/or equipment needs at an airport impacted by a disaster and provide the necessary assistance.  DOGs are centered on several basic concepts:

  1. Airports are critical infrastructures to every region.
  2. Airport recovery is essential to rescue and economic recovery efforts.
  3. Airports can mobilize very quickly and have standardized skill sets.

In 2004, the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport offered manpower and resources to Pensacola Airport during Hurricane Ivan. This incident established the need for airports to work together when faced with potential threats, and airports have since organized a geographical airport mutual aid coalition along the Southeast United States to include Texas: Southeast Airport Disaster Operations Group (SEADOG).

During Hurricane Katrina, the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport coordinated Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) certified personnel from several large airports to provide support to flight operations at Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, and the Houston Airport System provided assessment and operational support to relieve and supplement on-site personnel. This experience provided an opportunity to support and witness the importance of airports working together during an all hazards incident.

During Hurricane Gustav, DFW Airport established a Disaster Engineering Assessment Team as part of the DOG program to provide a written assessment on critical issues including life safety systems, information technology, communications, airfield, utility and structural safety to comply with airport and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. This team also provided a need analysis to re-establish recovery and relief flights necessary to maintain long-term support operations.  DFW Airport has teamed with the Houston Airport Systems to better serve the airports around the state of Texas in time of need and around the country if requested to ensure continuity of operations.

It is important that emergency management personnel understand the potential impact and necessity of re-establishing and maintaining airfield operations in or near a disaster area and know that assistance is available in Texas through SEADOG.

Todd Haines is the Planning Chief/Fire Protection Engineer for Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport’s Department of Public Safety, Fire Services. Haines is also the Team Leader for DFW Airport’s Disaster Engineering Assessment Team. He has earned both his Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology and a Master’s Degree in Fire and Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University. Haines has attained a Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) and an Adjunct Professor for Kaplan University in the Fire Science and Emergency Management Bachelors of Science Degree Program.

Share |