21 August 2006

Airport evacuation in Wagga Wagga

Wagga Wagga airport was evacuated yesterday after a "security scare":

During check-in a 14-year-old boy used the word "bomb" after his father had made a remark about grenades.

This sparked an emergency response by staff of airline Regional Express.

Police evacuated the terminal and the flight to Sydney was delayed by 40 minutes.

Although there's no excuse for the father, children are always going to make stupid remarks about security concerns, as long as adults are tense and overly serious about it. The staff at the airport need to be trained to evaluate security threats appropriately, and not overreact to jokes from a child.

The downside to the airport staff overreacting might not be immediately obvious. It is important that only genuine security threats are acted upon so that when emergency evacuations are required, people treat them seriously. The more ridiculous evacuations are staged, the less people will follow the advice of the security staff when required to evacuate.