Fort Lauderdale airport hiring consultant to assess in response to mass shootings

Esteban Santiago (second from the right) with his National Guard unit based in Puerto Rico. – Original Credit: Courtesy – Original Source: Courtesy to Sun Sentinel

A month after the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Broward County has begun negotiations with a consulting firm to assess how well it handled the crisis.

The airport plans to hire Ross & Barruzini Inc., a St. Louis-based company that has expertise in aviation and emergency preparedness, to look at a variety of issues, including general airport security, communications, air traffic control, coordination between agencies and assistance to passengers and their families.

“The airport is looking for an after-action report that’s going to fully detail the preparation for the event, the response to the event, the recovery and restoration afterward,” said Connie Mangan, a county purchasing agent, at a meeting Wednesday at the Broward County Governmental Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The shooting took place Jan. 6, when authorities say Esteban Santiago, 26, opened fire at a baggage claim area with a pistol that had been legally checked in a gun case. Five people were killed and six wounded. The shooting was followed by panic in other terminals, as rumors of additional shooters led to stampedes onto the tarmac, where passengers and airport employees were stuck for hours.

“Part of the report is going to be comparing how the incident was handled on the day of, versus the plans that we have in place,” said Yaft. “So if you have an evacuation plan, was the evacuation plan implemented? And those are the things we’d look at for the findings and recommendations.”

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