Airport management, law enforcement and federal personnel that are considered essential in responding to emergencies are now located in one dedicated facility that recently opened at Los Angeles International Airport.
Los Angeles city and airport officials dedicated the new $13.9 million Airport Response Coordination Center (ARCC) Jan. 24, touting its ability to centralize communications and streamline management of airport operations.
The 9,000-square foot facility will help improve service to the traveling public by enhancing the efficiency of airport operations and response to emergencies, city and airport officials said. The center is expected to reduce response and recovery times through improved coordination among agencies during minor and major incidents, officials said.
Stressing that safety must be the top priority at LAX, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the response coordination center provides “another crucial layer” of security to protect those traveling into and out of the airport.
“The new state-of-the-art facility will improve day-to-day operations and help LAX better respond to any type of incident or emergency,” Villaraigosa said.
“We know we have the best emergency responders in the nation, but we also know that it takes more than person-power on the ground to tackle a crisis.”
The ARCC dedication took place on the same day as a terrorist bombing at a Moscow airport in which authorities said more than 30 people were killed and over 150 were wounded. Villaraigosa said the opening of the response coordination center is an important step in ensuring that LAX is as safe as possible.
“We know that our international airport is a target and we remain committed to keeping LAX one of the safest airports in America,” the mayor said.
The ARCC provides various services such as round-the-clock operational support, facility management, flight information and security coordination, and complies with all federal aviation regulations, officials said. Personnel from the LAX airfield and terminal operations, Airport Police, Construction and Maintenance Services divisions and from federal agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration are regularly staffed at the center.
“This new facility allows us to bring together both people and technology within a single space that’s governed by a protocol that vastly increases our situational awareness and, equally important, our ability to respond quickly and effectively,” said Michael Lawson, the newly appointed president of the city Board of Airport Commissioners.
Officials said the ARCC marks the first time that a centralized response organization comprised of essential airport management and government personnel will be working together under one roof.
“This is the first time that we’ve had that many different agencies at that many different levels in one room,” said Randall Parsons, TSA federal security director for Los Angeles.
In the event of an airport emergency, the Incident Management Center, a separate section of the ARCC, would be activated to call in additional personnel to respond to the event. Described as a “nerve center,” the Incident Management Center would receive information from emergency responders and allocate the needed resources.
During a major incident, the ARCC staff would continue to handle other airport activities that may be impacted by the emergency, including airport roadways, terminals, cargo facilities and parking structures, officials noted.
Lawson touted the advancements of the ARCC, saying it provides tremendous behind-the-scenes benefits and is “what every other airport is striving for.”
“We have leapfrogged over everyone else in terms of technology and coordination,” Lawson said at the dedication ceremony.
The airport’s established AiRadio 530 AM broadcasting facility is also located inside the response coordination center. The ARCC project was funded by the airport’s general operating revenues and a $970,000 grant from the California Emergency Management Agency Urban Area Security Initiative.