SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has proposed a bill that aims to ensure better safety measures during threatening situations at major airports.
Schultz’s motivation behind the Airport Advanced Logistics Emergency Response and Training Act comes in the wake of last year’s mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which killed five people and injured six.
The congresswoman, along with local officials, airport personnel and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, met on Monday to talk about the bill. “Shootings like this, crises like this happen in the most normal places all over America,” Wasserman Schultz said, “so a Federal response is required.”
The bill addresses communication, coordination and training issues that it claims all airports face. It also includes the need for a unified operations center focused on controlling airport security at the 28 busiest airports.
“One of the ways we can honor the five victims from that horrific day is to make sure all major airports are made safer and we take steps to prevent chaos from ensuing when the next crisis unfortunately occurs,” said Wasserman Schultz. “Today in Washington, I will file the Airport Advanced Logistics Emergency Response and Training Act or the Airport ALERT Act.”
The bill would require all airport employees to be trained in active violence, crowd management and mass evacuations. “All 15,000 airport employees, to get them the needed training they must have in order to operate at the airport,” said FLL Airport director Mark Gale.
Schultz added that she has met with stakeholders to address the issues that resulted in the FLL shooting.
While the bill would target the 28 busiest airports, if passed, all airports would be required to submit an airport security plan to the Transportation Security Administration, which addresses mass evacuations.
“This legislation that Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is introducing, that I’m proud to co-sponsor, will help on a national level, ensure that the steps are taken to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and to help keep our airports safe,” said United States Representative Ted Deutch.
This proposal comes two days after FLL paid tribute to the five people who died as a result of the Jan. 6, 2017 shooting. The shooter, Esteban Santiago, is set for trial in June and pleaded not guilty to a 22-count indictment.
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