Be Prepared

By Debbie Hersman

“Be Prepared” is, of course, the Boy Scout motto. It’s also highly appropriate for the U.S. airport community, a cadre of professionals who must be prepared to deal with a wide range of scenarios including accidents, severe weather, security breaches, and much more.

On Monday, I had the privilege to address more than 800 airport professionals at the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) annual conference in Phoenix. I spoke about preparation and professionalism and what can happen if there is an aviation accident at their airport. For instance, of the 1,550 civil aviation accidents last year, nearly 47 percent were at or near an airport.

I commended AAAE for its leadership in training and professional development. Over the past decade there have been more than 2 million training sessions for more than a half million airport employees using AAAE’s computer-based training programs.

Training and preparation is essential. After an accident is not the time to practice emergency response. I gave the audience some examples of what has happened at several U.S. airports after accidents and urged them to take their planning and preparation to the next level. I quoted longtime college football coach Darrell Royal who said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

More to the point for aviation, safety is what happens when preparation meets professionalism.

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