I fly out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles whenever I’m headed to industry events, and right now I’m in the middle of getting my travel arrangements together for ISC West. Because my home airport is LAX, it caught my attention to see press reports and video talking about LAX using the Situator from NICEin LAX's ARRC. ARCC? I had no idea what the ARCC was, so I checked it out online. It was part of a $13.9 million-dollar project that created the Airport Response Coordination Center (ARCC) at the LAX airport.

According to LAX, "the ARCC is a centralized response organization comprised of all essential airport management personnel that are co-located in one dedicated, specialized facility." 

 Also, the ARCC "provides day-to-day, round-the-clock operational support, facility management, flight information, security coordination and ensures compliance with all federal aviation regulations...The dual-operational facility complies with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Incident Management System (FEMA NIMS).  This management system is designed to cover the prevention, preparation, response and recovery from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.  By implementing NIMS, all levels of government can work efficiently and effectively together by eliminating redundancy and confusion during an emergency response. 

LAX has activated an airport emergency operations center during several past events, but this is the first time that a centralized response organization comprised of all essential airport management personnel is co-located in one dedicated, specialized facility.  The LAX Airport Response Coordination Center also will serve as a crucial link to the City of Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center for comprehensive response, resource allocation and communication with city leaders.

Overall project cost of over $13.9 million includes $8.4 million (65 percent) allocated to installing state-of-the-art technology, equipment and software.  The project was funded from the airport’s general operating revenues and $970,000 from a California Emergency Management Agency Urban Area Security Initiative grant.  No monies were allocated from the City’s general fund.

The 15-month project, which began September 2009, includes six months between June and December 2010 for actual construction of the facility.  The new LAX Airport Response Coordination Center was designed by Gensler Architects and built by Technion Contractors Inc., both from Southern California.  Local offices of Systems Development Integration LLC; General Dynamics Information Technology Inc.; and Motorola Solutions Inc., installed and integrated the new state-of-the-art technology, equipment and software.  Los Angeles World Airports Development Group engineers and Information Management & Technology Group systems analysts managed the project.

Airport officials report nearly 200 jobs at prevailing wages were created during this project, including architects, engineers, inspectors, construction workers, building material fabricators, transport drivers, systems specialists and administrative support personnel." 

As Jacqueline Yaft, LAWA Deputy Driector of Operations describes it, NICE's Situator is “the system that ties everything together…so all agencies have the information right away.” “All agencies” includes personnel from "LAX’s airside (airfield) and landside (terminal) operations, Los Angeles Airport Police and Construction & Maintenance Services divisions, as well as from governmental agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration," which are now all under one roof in the new 9,000 square foot center. I hope they get along.

NICE Situatoris described as “a situation management software platform that enables situation planning, response and analysis for the security, safety and emergency markets where the risk of human error can lead to financial loss, injury and damage to public image. By integrating and correlating information from multiple and diverse systems across the organization and coordinating response actions, NICE Situator ensures that everyone in the operational chain knows what is happening and what to do.” That is exactly how Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa described the capabilities of the new ARCC, saying, “the system greatly increases and streamlines LAX’s efficiency and operational management…[and] the sophisticated communication system provides the clarity and coordination needed to respond to emergencies effectively.”

There's a lot to watch at LAX. LAX is the seventh busiest airport in the world and third in the United States, offering more than 565 daily flights to 81 destinations in the United States and more than 1,000 weekly nonstop flights to 65 international destinations on more than 75 air carriers. 

I must say, after viewing the video posted by NICE on the ARCC’s grand opening (it was weird to recognize the roads I drive on through the airport in the news report), it looks pretty impressive from what I can see in the available footage. Maybe I should work on getting a tour.

Here’s a report from ABC 7 in Los Angeles on the new Airport Response Coordination Center (ARCC). 


New crisis response center unveiled at LAX

Monday, January 24, 2011

Los Angeles International Airport is now better prepared to deal with any type of emergency. Airport officials dedicated a new $13.9 million crisis operations center Monday.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at LAX officially opened up a brand new way to protect passengers in the Southland.

A nerve center for LAX, the state of the art facility located on the airport's westside brings local and federal agencies under one roof to improve response time in the event of an emergency.

"Safety must be our top priority," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "And when faced with unpredictable incidence, it is our obligation to emerge from the chaos and manage the crisis quickly, effectively, and with expert coordination."

Officially named the Airport Response Coordination Center (ARCC), it boasts the latest technology. Staffed work stations enhance situational awareness and large wall-mounted monitors display live camera views from all over the airport.

Construction began in 2009, and despite a hefty price tag, funding never touched the city's general fund. The center took 15 months to complete and was paid for using grant money and airport revenue.

City officials say the end result is priceless. It is a streamlined center that shares information faster than ever before with local and federal agencies, like airport police and the TSA, sharing the same space.

"The agencies that are participating in the ARCC recognize what a critical step this is in enhancing an already exceptional security posture at LAX," said TSA Federal Security Director Randall Parsons.

The center created hundreds of new jobs at LAX, and will operate around the clock to provide an efficient and safer way to travel.