One of the mass environment incidents in recent history happened at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Broward County Florida on January 6, 2017. An active shooter incident led to the killing of five persons and 36 being injured in the terminal 2 baggage area. Subsequent ghost shootings were reported (19) over an hour later leading to additional panic and mass self-evacuation, including onto the tarmac and active runways. These subsequent incidents and lack of effective communication and command and control led to the full evacuation and closing of the airport until the next morning.
We learned a common threat of so many events, including the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Brussels, Dallas and more was one item – communication failed, for different reasons, but each incident it was communication was the Achilles heel that hampered the response.
Mass environment crisis often brings mass, uncontrolled evacuation, rumors through social media, and more.
Fear Flight Herding Disregard Denial Mass Hysteria
Working with global law enforcement and security authorities, we examined several major incidents and found having effective environment wide communication and interoperable capability is essential and further possible. There is a better way. We can solve the communication and collaboration issue. We can manage to have in place a quality management system that will assist in making the environment safer, and we can learn from the incidents of the past.
Implementation of PSeMS has the potential to:
• Ensure cooperation and communication between all stakeholders in the organization.
• Support early identification of emerging risks and threats
• Enhance and improve crisis management.